Newtown, Australia photographer Ryan Linnegar contemplated the idea of a rural food/editorial shoot for quite a while before teaming up with Grazing, a Gundaroo-based restaurant that specializes in rustic, homegrown cuisine with an elevated twist. Ryan worked directly with Grazing’s staff to capture the ambience and community of the rural eatery. With a clear goal of getting the photo story published, he worked hard to showcase the modern and inventive food that Grazing boasts.
Grazing prides itself on sourcing as much local food as they can. Most of their vegetables come from the Chef’s Garden, which is maintained directly behind the restaurant. The chefs focus not on making “fussy” food, but on combining flavors and textures that are delicious and exciting to the senses. Because Ryan’s project with Grazing was self-assigned, he was able to assume complete creative control over the shoot and capture the scenes that spoke to him.
My goal was to capture the rural, rustic feel of the restaurant and grounds while also showcasing the modern and inventive food which is sourced locally wherever possible. I wanted to communicate a sense of place and evoke the history of the restaurant and grounds.
Grazing is based in the historical Royal Hotel, built in 1865, where it originated as the hotel pub. Though filled with history and charm (including six open fireplaces!), the architecture of the hotel wasn’t exactly conducive to a photo shoot: the building’s tiny windows and lack of natural light made post-production tweaking an essential part of the creative process. Ryan also used exposure compositing to bring out detail in the dimly-lit interior shots. Prior to the shoot, Ryan worked with the chef and restaurant workers to make sure there would be a clear space to shoot.
In the end, Ryan got what he was looking for—honest photos that capture the Arcadian feel of the restaurant. While the shoot itself came with its own set of challenges, it also came with its rewards. The staff treated Ryan to some of their delicious food. After a good amount of social time with the restaurant staff and a belly full of the food, he started to shop his photo story around local publications. Right off the bat, he received some stunning feedback from Grazing and from his social media circles. Ryan is talking with numerous magazine art directors, and he hopes to see his photo story published soon!
To see more of Ryan’s photography, check out ryanlinnegarphotography.com.