If you are a regular follower of my blog you will know that I am keen on presenting photos of the fruit and veg I grow in an attractive manner. There is a place for the "natural" look - with freshly-harvested veg still covered in earth - but I think there is something particularly appealing about presenting produce neatly arranged in baskets. Because of this I have a growing collecton of baskets in a range of shapes and sizes.
This week I was particularly pleased to acquire this trio:
Although I did once splash out £15 on a wicker basket that I particularly liked, my usual source of such things is the charity shops (of which there is a large and growing population in our area). Of course, you can't count on being able to get any specific type of basket in a charity shop. You just have to keep your eyes open and get in quick when you see something suitable. The baskets I have bought from charity shops have always been very reasonably priced too. The three pictured above were £1 each. In retrospect I wish I had handed over a bit more money, because it goes to a good cause, and it seems a real shame to see such beautiful items sold so cheaply. Take a close look at the one at the back, with handles. It's a work of art!
This is my £15 basket, bought from Mole Valley Farmers.
It's marketed as a shopping-basket, but of course it has never been used for that purpose. Since I had bought it via mail order from a place in the West Country, and I fully expected it to have been made in England. I was disappointed to find that it had been imported from Romania!
To my mind, a hand-made basket (even if mass-produced) looks 100% better in front of the camera than a tatty old plastic washing-up bowl, but I do have to admit that a plastic bowl is easier to keep clean! I wouldn't want to wash my baskets too frequently, so I tend to use the plastic bowl for the actual harvesting, and then put the veg into the basket for the photography session.
It's just not the same is it? I suppose the ideal solution would be to use something like the traditional Sussex Trug which, being made of wood, is washable as well as being attractive to the eye.
Leaving aside baskets for a minute, I think that natural materials look so much better on almost every occasion when it comes to fruit and vegetable photography. In my opinion, these radishes would look just that little bit less appealing if they weren't presented on that beautiful olive-wood board. What do you think??