Commercial

Food photography: Francis Paniego’s latest dishes, El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja

Tuesday March 24th, 2015 11:21 AM

Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

There are 15 new dishes this year at Ezcaray’s two-Michelin star restaurant El Portal del Echaurren, and I’ve had the pleasure to photograph and then sample them! Chef Francis Paniego has continued with his theme of using out-of-fashion animal cuts in surprising and original ways. For example, the “razor clams” are actually pigs’ tendons.

Francis says he has brightened up some of the offal dishes and it’s true that the lamb sweetbreads and the bloody risotto are a visual delight! A recent trip to Mexico made him think about how to incorporate paprika, which is used lots in Riojan cooking, with chocolate and the result brings joy to any photographer’s eyes!

The great thing about photographing at the Portal is that there is abundant natural light so you really see the dishes as they are. This time, apart from our classic shots, we also shot lots of the dishes from above, in part to add variation to the portfolio and also to show them really well on the plate.

Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Commercial photography: Portraits of interior designer Alvaro Sordo in Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country, Spain

Tuesday March 3rd, 2015 07:00 AM

Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country

The photographic brief for this commercial job immediately had me hooked! Alvaro Sordo is a top interior designer based in Galdakao, Bizkaia, Basque Country, just outside Bilbao. However, instead of asking me to produce images of commercial interiors and family homes he’s worked on, he wanted portraits that showed his professional approach with his clients. Portraits that transmit his philosophy of close working relationships, collaboration, communication, his personal integrity and sensitivity. Like me Alvaro knows that an excellent client relationship leads to fantastic results.

So we met up with Alvaro Garrido, the Michelin star chef of Bilbao’s Restaurante Mina and his wife Lara. I wanted an image that was dominated by bonhomie and that showed something of the beautiful interior of the restaurant Alvaro had created. In truth, my job wasn’t that complicated: I set up a remote flash, blended it into the the ambient light and let them get on with it…

Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country

Commercial photography: A special place to stay, Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

Wednesday January 14th, 2015 04:48 PM

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The Echaurren gastronomic hotel in Ezcaray, La Rioja, has been in the same family for five generations, gradually building up a reputation as a very special place to eat and stay in northern Spain. But that doesn’t mean it rests on its laurels.

In the four years I’ve been living in Ezcaray, its Portal restaurant has gained first one and then a second Michelin star.

Despite the tricky economic times in Spain, the Echaurren has also been investing in a programme of renovating its bedrooms, and recently joined the Relais & Chateaux association of luxury hotels. Quite simple the family wants their guests to have the time of their lives when they visit.

Ferran Fisas’ photographic brief for the new website was simple: Show the enjoyment and happiness of staying at the hotel; that it’s a special place where people of all ages can relax in style. In essence produce images that show a gastronomic hotel that gets the balance just right between quality, fun, tradition and modernity.

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Commercial & Wedding: My favourite photos of 2014

Monday December 22nd, 2014 10:05 AM

Commercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

I’ve taken around 50,000 photos this year and I’ve been looking back over some of them trying to work out which ones I like best. To be honest, I keep changing my mind about my favourites perhaps because I can see faults in all of them; things that I’ll try to do better in 2015. That said, all of them are good examples of photos with personality: a fusion of the subjects’ and my own.

The above photo shows Francis Paniego, a two star Michelin chef who’s reached national and international fame with the Portal de Echaurren restaurant but, somehow, still finds himself being having to put up with the attention of his elder brother. The next is of the Roca brothers of the world-famous Cellar de Can Roca and this time I wanted to show Joan, the elder brother, as the responsible one while his younger siblings have all the fun.

The third photo, of Toño Perez in Atrio restaurant, is pure photojournalism: I touched nothing and directed nothing; it’s just him at work in his kitchen.

The next couple of photos are good examples of how I try to add elegance, style and life to group shots. I like the product shots of the cocktails and the plate of vegetables because they challenged me technically. They’re good examples of how I went to the shoot with an idea in my mind and worked out how to light it. And then I had to be quick: the whipped cream in the right-hand cocktail and the steam on the vegetables lasted for only a few seconds.

The wedding shots are all about capturing beautiful, tender, elegant moments in life in a really authentic way. And finally there are some wine shots because I think so often commercial photography fails to transmit the passion of the people who devote their lives to their work.

Happy holidays!!

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Commercial: Wooden furniture and theatre seating, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

Thursday November 13th, 2014 05:30 PM

Fotografia de muebles y butacasa, Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Ezcaray is a popular holiday destination attracting people thanks to its beautiful mountainous location, excellent restaurants and hotels and, at least as we head into winter, ski resort. It’s particularly well-known among people from the Basque Country and Madrid.

But it’s also internationally famous in one particular, and rather niche, commercial sector: the manufacture of quality wooden furniture and theatre / cinema seats. As you drive into the town you are flanked on both sides of the road by furniture factories which sell their wares to France, the UK, Germany and further afield.

Garcia Hermanos is one of these long-established family-run enterprises dedicated at making high quality, environmentally sustainable furniture. They asked me to photograph their extensive range of directors’ chairs, deck chairs and other models for a forthcoming catalogue.

For these commercial jobs I use a mobile studio, setting up backgrounds, and remote lighting in a corner of the factory – it’s a lot easier than bringing tons of furniture to my studio. Catalogue photography obviously requires faithful images where you can see exactly what you’re buying. But, at least in some images, I spend quite a lot of time and thought in capturing the curves, materials, beauty and sheer essence of the pieces. Their character and soul, you might say.

High-quality products made to exacting standards require high-quality photography to distinguish them from mass-produced alternatives.

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas, Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org