COOK & BAKER | MEET THE MAKERS: Ellie Loveday Edkins
We started Cook & Baker to celebrate amazing food with excellent people, so we thought it was only right to do a Meet the Maker series. We'll be chatting to some of the many talented individuals and brands we have worked with about how they started out, their challenges and success, and how they’ve grown as small businesses. Oh…and whether they like to Cook or Bake! Today, we're chatting to photographer Ellie Loveday Edkins, who has shot many of our supper clubs over the last year.
How did you first get into photography? Was it always something you saw yourself doing?
I first realised I enjoyed photography when I was about 13. I always used to steal my mum's camera to take photographs of my friends or set up random product photoshoots on my windowsill. I remember when one of my good friends got a Nikon for Christmas - we were both pretty fascinated by it! This is also around the same time she introduced me to the photo editing suite Picasa, and we spent hours on there editing our images. I then continued to get into photography as a hobby and later studied it as a diploma for 2 years at college (where I finally learnt how to use photoshop… bye-bye Picasa).
My plan was to go on to uni and do a degree in photography but this changed as I discovered I wanted to explore other creative subjects and didn’t know if uni was right for me. I always used to photograph shop windows when I visited London and realised I liked the styling side of shoots so I went on to study a diploma in Visual Merchandising & Retail Branding and have pursued a career in that for the past 4 years. I was constantly taking photos of everything and really missed using a proper camera so last year I decided it was time to get back into it, so I bought myself a camera, started shooting again and was fortunate enough to get some great work. I now do it on the side as much as possible of my full time Visual Merchandising job.
What do you love most about it? What is it that inspires you?
This is something that I am always trying to work out myself, why do I love it so much? I guess it's being able to stop time in a sense. I just think it’s insane that humans have been able to design something that can capture the essence of somebody, or something or an atmosphere in a split second and it’s there forever. It’s a beautiful thing. I am a visual person so for me how the look of things makes me feel is important and being able to control things like colour and layout like you can in a photograph is something I find really satisfying.
Tell us about your experiences so far - what has been your biggest challenge, and what has been your biggest achievement?
I mainly shoot event photography at the moment but have produced some work for restaurants. My biggest challenge has been developing and refining my style, which is something I am still working on. We live in a society where we are surrounded by so much material it is easy to get bogged down with wanting to produce work that isn’t naturally your style. But I am slowly realising that shooting in a way that comes naturally to you is what defines you as an artist and means your work is consistent and recognisable.
For me one of my biggest achievements is developing a great network of clients from nothing, for being recognised for doing something I enjoy and being able to work with some incredibly talented people.
Last March I assisted styling on a shoot for an article on the chef and author Dan Barber for the Guardian Food Supplement and to say I wasn’t still stoked about having my name printed in the Guardian would be an understatement. It’s up there on my list of achievements, as well as assisting with styling the boat for the Meringue Girls second book launch where I was lucky enough to meet Cook and Baker Co-Founder Safia AKA Baker!
What’s next? Where do you see yourself and your work in 5 years?
I’ve discovered from various experiences over the past year that you literally have no idea what is around the corner and when you least expect it everything changes and you end up going in a completely different direction to what you planned. So my new stance on life is to take it day by day, and if something comes your way and it seems like a good opportunity, even if you don’t feel 100% confident that you are up to the challenge you should take it anyway and learn along the way.
I would love to be producing work for editorial and hope to have worked on a cookbook with someone! A goal of mine is to actually finish my website (I am so slow) I hope to complete that before the next 5 years is up though haha! Travelling is at the top of my list of things to do so it would be great to be able to travel for work.
What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
Making mistakes only teaches us how to do better next time, and all the lessons we learn from slipping up now and then contribute to helping us grow.
It's not advice but it's something I take from watching my dad. If you are passionate about something that equally makes you happy and brings you a sense of achievement then you should continue to do it until something out of your control stops you from doing it.
Now for the controversial one… are you a Cook or a Baker? What are your favourite things to Cook & Bake?
I am a baker! That doesn’t necessarily mean I am any good at it but cooking just doesn’t come naturally to me. My favourite thing to make is Pavlova using a recipe my nan & mum use. I also liking making cakes, mostly the decorating part! Cooking wise I love making my completely made up sweet potato curry - I change it every time and use a lot of guess work but it’s my fave.
Want to be one of our makers? We're always looking to work with small, independent brands and businesses so drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.