Photographers who Inspire - Nicky and Max

"Whenever me and Max meet up for one of our brainstorming sessions, we finish with too many ideas and a bit of a headache…(I love them!)".

You KNOW how I love collaborating. I mean, REAL collaborating when you are working together with someone else on a creative project. You meet. You brainstorm. You butt heads. You have ideas. You work through them. Some you discard, others you develop further. Some end there. And some go on to something special.

But it's always different than what you could have done on your own. And, I believe, better.

I have done most of my creative collaboration in music - jazz music that is. Even wrote my master's thesis on creative collaboration. More about that another time. Promise!

Imagine my surprise and delight when I came across the collaboration between photographer Nicky and food stylist Max. 

Let's look at some of their photos before I tell you more about them. They have quite the range in style.

Ever think that anyone's food photography would be inspired by a design movement? Yup - it's Bauhaus tabletop styling. Think Mies van der Rohe and his Barcelona chair and buildings. His philosophy of "less is more". A design movement "adapted to our world of machines, radios and fast cars". A style that would represent modern times in the early 20th century. The antithesis of romanticism and adornment and ornamentation and excess. Streamlined. It lasted until 1933 when it was shut down by the Nazi's.

Nicky and Max bauhaus photography food

First, a vintage Bauhaus poster.

Angular. Modern. Graphic. 

It's from 1923 - it doesn't look that dated. That's almost 100 years ago.





Now Nicky & Max's interpretation of Bauhaus.

Nicky and Max bauhaus food photography

More Bauhaus-inspired. A side-note - Nicky & Max are based in Berlin. The last three years of Bauhaus (1930-1933) were based in - yes, Berlin.

nicky and max food photography

But being Nicky & Max, that's not their only idea. Here's a more romantic styling. Note how you are drawn into the photograph from the bottom left, with your eye curving around to the right and ending on the red pepper. So dark that you can barely see the knife in the foreground.

nicky and max food photography

Everyone has a coffee photo. A shallow depth of field coffee photo. But see how on the left the focus is on the middle of the beans? How it's cropped before the horizon? And then on the right, a shallower angle, almost head on, with the horizon cutting the bottom third of the photo. The focus on the crema with the depth of field so shallow that most of the glass is out of focus. Cool, bluish tones.

Would I have put these two together? Probably not - and that's why I'm not Nicky & Max. It works well.

nicky and max food photograpy

I look at this and imagine it's a present that I have opened - surprise, some asparagus! I like how it's cropped on the left and the bottom. As an amateur I would have chosen a more boring composition with more cropping on the left and less on the bottom. Still, notice that it has the classical 2/3-1/3 proportions with the placement of the asparagus. 

nicky and max food photography

I just enjoy the building blocks of the sandwich on parchment. A clean, fresh grid.

nicky and max food photography

Overhead shot of the tomato sandwich but angled from top left to bottom right. But not exactly overhead with the grater and the wooden cutting board following the lines of the wood grain. Notice the cropping that makes it seem as if it is a moment taken from a panning shot over the table.

nicky and max food photography

Who are Nicky and Max? Nicky's a photographer from London who moved to Berlin in 2011 to live a different kind of life. Max worked in restaurants in France and Germany and returned to Berlin in 2009. He styles food. They met. They collaborated. And luckily for us they started their blog January 2012 to share their projects.

What do you think about their collaboration? Can't you just feel the energy and the excitement? Don't you want to visit Berlin? Have you ever collaborated on a creative project? 

(Want to see other photographers who inspire? Check here).