Martha’s Vineyard, a quaint island off the coast of Massachusetts, turns into a vacationer’s paradise during the summer months. Accessible only by boat or plane, the picturesque island boasts rocky beaches, clear waters, and cool breezes, making it the ideal destination for New England socialites.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts-based food, lifestyle, and travel photographer Elizabeth Cecil is one of the few residents who sticks around the island during the off-season, and she has a knack for capturing the feel of the Vineyard through her food and portrait photography. Her photos showcase the local eats and colorful people that are a big part of what makes Martha’s Vineyard so special.
Elizabeth’s recent series features fun photos of party-goers displaying some of the delectable treats that the Vineyard has to offer. The series originated last year as a shoot for Edible Vineyard, a quarterly food magazine distributed around the island, but has evolved into an ongoing personal project for Elizabeth. The series is based around the Taste of the Vineyard, a fundraiser for the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust. The event is the place to be seen on the island, and features restaurants, bakers, chefs, grocers, brewers and farmers, all presenting tasting plates. Elizabeth is no stranger to food photography, so this project was a “natural fit.”
When Edible Vineyard first approached me with the idea, I really had to think about how I was going to approach this event in a unique way. I really wanted to capture the beautiful food as well as the lighthearted spirit of the event. One notable thing about The Taste that really inspired me is the wild fashion — party dresses, wacky ties, colorful shirts. So I created my studio set-up, and sought out people who could individually convey the celebration that was happening in the tent. I paired them with little “tastes,” and let the photos speak for themselves.
Don’t let the simplicity of the photos fool you. Elizabeth had to battle elbow-to-elbow hungry crowds, a small tent and tasting plates were quickly disappearing:
I decided that I needed to break out of the tent in order to isolate the food and the subject, so I commandeered my own mini-studio area on the edges of the property. With the help of the writer of the piece, we were able to wrangle individuals and food to photograph, and corral them to my little set-up. Re-taking control of my environment enabled me to get exactly what I, and Edible Vineyard, had come for: pictures that truly showcased people enjoying the food.