June 23, 2017

Creative Evolution: A Q+A with Krissy O’Shea with Cottage Farm

Our next food stylist comes from a little farm tucked away in the beautiful heart of New England. Krissy O’Shea is a freelance photographer and food stylist who launched her blog Cottage Farm in 2009. Although her creative works are constantly evolving, Krissy’s photography is known for its natural lighting, as well as minimal styling.

Discover more about Cottage Farm’s inspirations and evolution in our Q+A below!

What inspires your photography?

A good many things, but the most important of all is the light. I love the way light can transform a space or scene or object, how it changes over the course of the day and from place to place.

How would you explain your photography and blogging style?

I like to think it is has a preference for the simple and unadorned while still celebrating
the elemental; the elegance in the everyday.

How/when did you decide to start blogging?

I started blogging in 2009 while in graduate school. I felt I needed a space to explore and express ideas and aesthetics which were influential for me on a whole but not directly connected to the work I was doing at the time.

How did you choose your blog name?

My great-grandparents emigrated to the US from Sweden around the turn of the century. Cottage Farm was the name they gave the farm they purchased when they arrived. It has seen 4 generations of my family. While the name felt deeply personal it also speaks to ideas of connectedness and the elemental.

My work is constantly evolving and changing, a fluidity I am grateful for, so that answer changes, but at the moment i’m having fun playing with the angles of light. So, any of the photos that capture that are my favorite at moment.

What is your favorite piece in your prop collection right now?

A beautiful soft grey Sue Pryke bowl. I bought it at a ceramics show in London and it has traveled all over the world in my suitcase. It is sculptural and clean and looks beautiful in any setting.

Is there any maker you’re particularly fond of?

I love the work of the local husband and wife team at Myrth Ceramics. I have a set of their bowls that I use both at home and for work. And the maker behind Black Creek Mercantile Co., Josh Vogel – His work is also unadorned, but breathtakingly sculptural. I’m fortunate to enjoy their rung stool in my kitchen.

Are there any makers that have influenced your food photography/style?

Edith Heath. She started the Heath ceramics studio in Sausalito in the early 50’s. The first time I picked up one of her pieces I thought “this is exactly it.” Her pieces make you want to interact with them and are imbued with that simple everyday elegance that I find so beautiful.

How do you choose your props?

With great care and consideration of palette, texture, shape feel and visual harmony with those objects around them or in the same shot.

How much work goes into finding props for your particular style?

It has actually become easier over time. I used to agonize over decisions until I really found a stride in my style. Now, I know if something will work when I see it or touch it. That said, I still try to leave room for the unexpected.

What are your favorite seasonal ingredients to use?

At the moment it’s Rhubarb. There are a few huge old plants at the farm and they are producing as fast as I can pull and eat it. Infact, I would have to say that Rhubarb is one of my favorite ingredients of all time. I also love chive blossom right now.

What is it like balancing both a blog and a career in prop/floral styling and design

The two are often intertwined these days so that helps. But most days start very early and end long after dinner. But I love what I’m doing so that makes it all worthwhile.

What techniques do you use in your work that you learned from your MFA?

Mostly it’s how to approach a project. My MFA really taught me to develop and think through my own creative process and this had been invaluable.

How do you keep lighting consistent throughout your images?

I am typically attracted to the same kinds of lighting so this helps with the consistency. I also have developed a consistent workflow for editing my images.

Follow Cottage Farm on Instagram @cottagefarm!