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Chiaroscuro Photography: What is it?

Anisa Sabet

Chiaroscuro. You might not know how to pronounce it, but you’ve probably been seeing it for years. 

Chiaroscuro photography is the favoured method of many Instagram darlings – that dramatic contrast of light and dark that makes food photography pop. Chiaroscuro, is an Italian term that refers to the intense contrast of light (chiar) and dark (oscuro) in art, famously used in the paintings of Rembrandt or Caravaggio to create a strong and dramatic mood.

“This style of photography is rustic, raw and messy; a strong contrast to the perfectly curated white and bright studio images commanding the commercial food photography scene for so long,” explains Chiaroscuro enthusiast and founder of The Macadames Anisa Sabet. “Chiaroscuro is an exciting combination of contrasting light, textures and spontaneity, somehow rendering the scene to real life.”

Photo credit: Beth Kirby

Photo credit: Beth Kirby

Made wildly popular by the likes of Katie Quinn-Davies of What Katie Ate and Beth Kirby of Local Milk, this unique style of photography will be being taught at a special retreat in April 2017, giving budding photographers and foodie obsessives alike the tools they need to master this

Valentina Solfrini (of Hortus Cuisine) and Zaira Zarotti (of The Freaky Table ), two world-renowned Italian photographers, stylists and bloggers will be coming to Berry, NSW in April 2017 to co-host the Chiaroscuro Food Photography Retreat with Anisa who says “guests walk away with clarity around their individual journey, more confidence in their own abilities, fizzing with creativity and of course, lasting friendships.”

“Chiaroscuro Food Photography Retreat is about bringing together like minded creatives for a few days of feasting, laughing, sharing and learning.”

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Photo credit: Katie Quinn Davies

The retreat welcomes anyone wanting to explore their creativity, through to professionals wanting to develop their career in food styling, photography or blogging.  All classes will be immersive, hands-on and a way for the guests to experience the process of visual storytelling in an intimate environment and with the guidance of experienced professionals.

“The event is designed to be an all-inclusive getaway and education retreat,” explains Anisa. “Ideal for both beginner and experienced photographers, or someone who simply wants to slow down, refresh, hone their style and emerge themselves in food culture.”

Aside from the opportunity to learn the Chiaroscuro style of photography, there will be sessions on photography basics, photo editing and preset building and the retreat will also cover using florals, table styling, and even social media marketing and business strategy.

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Photo credit: Zaira Zarotti

“The retreat welcomes anyone wanting to explore their creativity, through to professionals wanting to develop their career in food styling, photography or blogging,” says Anisa. “All classes will be immersive, hands-on and a way for the guests to experience the process of visual storytelling in an intimate environment and with the guidance of experienced professionals.”

the essentials 

What: Chiaroscuro Food Photography Retreat
When: 28-30 April 2017
Where: Bundara Farm, Berry, NSW
Bookings and more information: Tickets are on sale now on The Macadames website

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Anisa Sabet

Anisa is a Canberra based food and recipe blogger, budding food photographer and stylist, mum to a gorgeous baby girl and a serious coffee addict. Among other things, she loves getting outdoors, reading, entertaining friends, the snow, good wine, travelling and going to the movies. Most days, you can find her in her fav Canberra haunts, in the kitchen or behind the lens. More about the Author

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