In March, I had the opportunity to tag along and play unofficial “second shooter” at a photo shoot for HAWAI‘I Magazine featuring some of the rising star chefs and bartenders elevating the local food and drink scene. The chefs and bartenders were Nos. 2 and 3 on HAWAI‘I Magazine’s list of “22 Things We Love About Hawaii” in a spread declaring the arrival of a “new wave” of chefs…and that bartenders play a role in today’s food landscape.
The featured culinary craftsmen: Quinten Frye (Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar; Cocina), Chris Kajioka (Vintage Cave), Mark “Gooch” Noguchi (Taste Table; Pili Hawai‘i) and Sheldon Simeon (Star Noodle; Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop; Aloha Mixed Plate). The featured drink slingers: Justin Park (The Manifest), Dave Power (The Feral Pig), Kyle Reutner (Hawaii Bitters Company) and Dave Newman (Pint + Jigger).
The shoot was done in urban Kaka‘ako, Honolulu, where murals created for Pow Wow Hawai‘i brighten up the landscape. The bartenders were shot in front of a work by Justin Park — artist and cocktail genius, a man of many talents (dude leatherworks a mean apron, too). I only wish I had gotten as great a shot of Justin in front of the mural as I did of Dave Power (above). The work behind the chefs is by Eric Marcinizyn, Scribe and Jim Mahfood (this link has a full mural shot about 3/4 down the page).
I’m grateful to the gang of boys (the eight subjects and the four-man magazine crew) who let this girl hang out with them for the day, especially the wonderful and talented David Croxford whose photos are the full-page featured images that you’ll see in the magazine. He’s my photography guru and endlessly patient when explaining concepts and techniques. And he delights in telling me about new gadgets — to which I always say, “Tell Shake that’s what I want for Christmas!” Not every photographer is as gracious about having an amateur tag-along futzing around the set.
As you can see from the photos, there was a lot of light-hearted energy — these guys all know each other, some of them are close buddies.
I don’t have much of a civilizing effect on boys, and I think they sort of forgot about me and my camera — easy when there’s a guy with a much bigger lens and a giant light box in your face — so I managed to capture some really fun images. A lot of these were shot in the moments between set-ups when they were goofing around, saying, “Haha, what if we did this?!” and the seconds immediately before or after Croxford’s shutter snapped. So while some of these are staged, they weren’t posing for me. These eight guys are all serious-as-you-can-get about the food and drink they put out, but off-duty, they’re just a fun bunch of goobs. I say that with love for their good-natured and hilarious personalities and respect for their incredible skills. Mwah, boys! I had a blast with y’all!
Get your hands on a copy (print or digital) of the issue because 1) there are another dozen or so chefs and bartenders recognized in the piece whose work you’ll want to taste; and 2) the other 20 items on the “22 Things” list are pretty awesome, too. (And I am not just saying that because Shake wrote it. I can objectively vouch that the food items that made the list are delicious. I know because I ate pretty much every one of them.)