The city of Atlanta offers a diverse array of cuisines and unique flavors to suit any individual’s preference and taste. Just ask food photographer Bailey Garrot, who has lived and worked in the city for over ten years, and can attest to the array of chefs that have brought a flair to southern cooking. In a feature for Atlanta Magazine, Bailey captures the newest restaurants of the city by highlighting their kitchens, cooks, and tantalizing cuisines.
Bailey was contacted by visual director Martha Williams, as the two had collaborated on smaller projects for Atlanta Magazine. For this assignment, Martha wanted Bailey to shoot the cover and main story, an article featuring thirteen of the best restaurants in Atlanta. The images would directly focus on the newest restaurants on the scene, allowing Bailey the opportunity to sample some of Atlanta’s finest food while working with a great client.
We have a good working chemistry and I never say “no” to a project they ask me to shoot!
Because Bailey ventured to five different locations, she had limited time at each restaurant and instead found herself working around cooking schedules and customers. To maximize her time effectively, she created a set of guidelines that would help to highlight the space in its entirety.
I photographed five of the selected thirteen restaurants, and the goal was to capture food, chefs, and ambiance for the article.
Along with the images of the food and interior, Bailey photographed portraits and candid shots of the chefs. Including these images adds a personal touch to the feature by showcasing the visionaries who dreamt up these restaurants. She worked with each chef to highlight their signature dishes and added complementary sides that worked together to create mouth-watering vignettes.
One of Atlanta’s newest spots, Talat Market, is a Thai restaurant that sources seasonal and local ingredients for a menu that is truly Asian-American fusion. Though the restaurant started as a pop-up, their dreams of having a brick-and-mortar shop were at risk when they opened a month before the COVID-19 pandemic closed all businesses.
Talat Market is located in the Summerhill neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. They grew from a pop-up to a brick-and-mortar restaurant because of the amazing support of their community.
Co-owners Parnass Savang and Rod Lassiter cook using Thai techniques and featuring local ingredients from Georgia. It’s very unique to the area.
During the shoot, Bailey captured their culinary creations made in the kitchen the duo had envisioned for years. She strove to capture elements of the restaurant that the owners worked hard to preserve, like a cutting block that was original to the space, and used this to shoot the cover image for Atlanta magazine. Knowing their story helped craft images that spoke to the atmosphere of the restaurant and the journey it took to create such a place.
For the ambiance, we used elements in the restaurant to style the shoot. The cutting block surface has been in that building since it was a 1960’s deli and the guys refurbished it and use it today.
In working with the restaurant’s availability, Bailey photographed each spot while they were open to the public so she did not have the ability to control who would be present during the shoot. As a result, the restaurant’s patrons stepped in as models, and even Rob Lassiter’s wife Kelly sampled food and drink for Bailey’s photographs.
It’s a fun challenge because you never know what you’re going to expect!
While a restaurant’s purpose is to serve food, its atmosphere can offer a respite from the stresses of a long day. Bailey sought to capture the feel along with the food and provide Atlanta Magazine readers with a vision for their next night on the town. These ambient elements only added to the authenticity of her images and provided the client with a true snapshot of the dining experience of each restaurant.
Photographer: Bailey Garrot
Visual Director: Martha Williams
Writer: Sam Worley
Designer: Matt Love
Photographer Assistant: Kevin Brown
Photographer Assistant: Tiffany Shepard