We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know our new websites as much as we have, and wanted to take a moment to introduce you to photographer extraordinaire, Cedric Angeles. He’s the man behind the hundreds of incredible images that make our sites so spectacular!
Born and raised in the Philippines, Cedric moved to Los Angeles in high school, and then attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he studied photography. After graduation he made his way to New York City to pursue a career in editorial photography, and has since worked for some of the world’s top publications, including GQ, Bon Appetite, Travel + Leisure, Food + Wine, Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, NY Times T Magazine, Glamour, Martha Stewart Living and Oprah Magazine, just to name a few!
Today Cedric resides in a small town about 30 minutes north of New Orleans with wife, Mia Kaplan, an amazing painter and sculptor, and their two beautiful daughters.
We sat down with Cedric and learned a little bit more about the man behind the camera. We think you’ll enjoy getting to know him as much as we have.
MM: How did you get into photography and how long have been a photographer?
CA: I originally wanted to make films and it seems like I have come full circle as I am now directing more videos in conjunction with the stills. More and more clients are asking for video nowadays.
I got into the film industry in LA after high school and worked as a grip/electrician. I was already taking photos as a hobby at that point but never thought about making career out of it. A director who I worked with and who I greatly admired started as a photographer and he advised me to pursue photography before making films.
I moved to NYC in 2000 after getting out of art school. Wow, it has been 13 years! It seems like it was just yesterday when I was walking around NYC with my portfolio and showing it to my favorite magazines, hoping I would start getting some assignments. Jim Franco, who was then the photo editor of Travel + Leisure magazine, gave me my first big break. After seeing my portfolio he called me for a travel assignment in the Republic of Georgia. After shooting that story, he sent me to Marseille, France for another story. Those stories came out and I started getting assignments from other magazines. The magazine world in NYC is small, my name just started getting passed around and that really started my career.
MM: Were you always interested in food photography?
CA: I pursued travel photography in the beginning. I wanted to travel the world and photography was my ticket. With travel assignments, you need to be able to shoot a wide range of subjects — landscapes, interiors, portraits and food. I never pursued food photography, but I started getting a lot of commissions for entertaining stories from Food + Wine and Bon Appetit magazines. I loved these shoots and I approached them all as travel stories.
MM: Your style is much more relaxed than most straight-up food photography. How would you describe your work?
CA: I believe the food magazines responded to the natural and spontaneous travel photos I was taking. I love natural light and movement and I try to approach any shoot with that in mind. I love adding life to food shots — half eaten, crumbs, spills, hands, etc.
MM: What is your process when working with food? Do you use a stylist, special lighting, etc.?
CA: It depends on the assignment. On most travel shoots, it would just be my assistant and me. We have to make do with a lot of what we have at the locations. I tell the chef to prepare the food for a customer and not for a photo shoot. I love capturing the whole process and I am usually running around the kitchen. I shoot the prep, kitchen crew working, cooking, everything.
For entertaining stories, we have a full crew. The Photo Editor and the Art Director from the magazine would be on set, we would have a Food Stylist and a Prop Stylist and sometimes a Fashion Stylist and Makeup and Hair for the subjects. Everything is controlled for these shoots, down to the utensils.
MM: You’re something of a triple threat: you can do food, people and interiors all with equal brilliance, which is so rare. Is there one thing you like more than the others? How do you approach everything with the same eye?
CA: I never realized that, I wonder if I should use “triple threat” on my promos! I don’t really think about my style. It comes from just years of shooting and understanding what kind of images you would like to take for the stories. I watch tons of films from my favorite directors and cinematographers, I read a lot, eat a lot, look at a lot of photography, play a lot with my family and it all just seems to affect how I take pictures.
MM: You live in New Orleans, which is one of Marc’s favorite food cities. Describe your ideal food day?
CA: My wife is a great cook, so we eat at home a lot. If we do go out, we live a couple of miles away from La Provence, a John Besh restaurant which is one of our favorite places. And I can go on forever about places in New Orleans, but these are a few of my all-time favorites:
Liuzza’s By The Track for gumbo.
Killer Po Boys in the back of the Erin Rose Bar in the French Quarter.
I had a great shrimp and grits dish at Coquette on Magazine Street Hansen’s for the best snowball.
Wine, Tapas, and good music at Bacchanal in the Bywater.
And of course, coffee and Beignets at Cafe Du Monde, a tourist trap, but still good.
MM: In your opinion what’s the most interesting place you’ve taken a photograph?
CA: I cannot think of just one, but I loved Iran, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.
MM: How many countries have you visited?
CA: I haven’t counted… 60+ perhaps.
MM: If you weren’t a photographer what would you be?
CA: A filmmaker.
MM: What’s you favorite camera that a non-professional could use?
CA: For convenience, of course the camera on your phone. iPhone for me — I always have it.
MM: Has photographing food and well-known chefs changed your perspective on how you eat at all?
CA: Absolutely, if anything, it’s made me more aware of where our food came from, the people who grew it, raised it, the people who picked it, killed it and how it ended up on my table. I am more aware of the importance of knowing the lifecycle of the food and how learning to cook is probably one of the most important skills I can learn.
MM: Instagram… yay or nay?
CA: I don’t have an account yet. I contribute to the Instagram feed of Intersection Photos, my stock agency. My only concern is time — do I really have the time to deal with another piece of social media?
MM: Anything else you think we should know?
CA: Actually, yes. My stock agency is doing a fundraiser to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and I’d love to share the donation link. Being born in the Philippines, this is really an important cause and they need lots of help: http://intersectionstore.bigcartel.com.