Viewers of the Food Network know Tyler Florence as the host of a number of shows, most recently “The Great Food Truck Race,” but he’s also as much an accomplished expert in the photography studio as in the kitchen.
Florence was the star attraction at an event last night in San Francisco where his photographs and those of two other professional photographers were displayed at a gallery in the South of Market Area. The event was hosted by Canon, which was promoting a line of Pixma Pro printers that produce high-resolution large prints of photos taken with digital cameras – Canon cameras, they hope.
These gadgets are for serious photographers who want to make a print that comes as close as possible to reproducing the actual image the photographer remembers in their mind’s eye. If you’ve ever taken a photo and been disappointed that it didn’t turn out the way you remember the scene, you’ll understand.
Canon displayed three printers at the event that drew about 300 people including, somehow, me. The printers on display were the Pixma Pro-100 that lists for $500, the Pro-10 for $700 and the Pro-1 for $1,000.
“This Canon printer is sick, by the way,” Florence said in brief remarks to the crowd. (To the uninitiated, “sick” is a slang term that’s high praise.) “The high quality of this printer really means something.”
The event showcased prints from Florence, Robyn Lehr, a professional photographer whose specialties include “food” and “still life,” according to her Web site, and Erin Kunkel, whose site says she also specializes in food photographs. The three photographers were assigned to take photos in Wine Country north of San Francisco, where Florence has a winery and lives in Mill Valley.
Guests at the event were taken through a series of small galleries, each one representing one of the five senses. In the gallery representing sound, for instance, visitors donned headphones with sounds of breezes flowing through a vineyard as they viewed vineyard photos. In the touch gallery, we were invited to place our hands in a tray of soil and brush from Florence’s vineyards. In the taste gallery, we were offered grapes to snack on. In each case, the sensory stimulus enhanced the appreciation for the photographs of food and vineyard scenes.
In his remarks, Florence explained how he became interested in photography after several vacations in the South of France over the years with his young, growing family.
“To me capturing those images and printing them was just a beautiful expression of not just the idea of printed photography but my passion about the image that I was taking,” he said. “This is the first time I showed my pictures to anybody.”
Today with digital cameras, most people are happy to use a modestly priced camera and post their photos on Facebook or elsewhere online, because the photos don’t have to be very high resolution. However, if you try to print such a photo and enlarge it, you often find that the image starts to become pixilated. But to amateur and professional photographers who really value a high-resolution photo and want a high-resolution print to hang on their wall or give to a friend, these high-end printers can be a prized possession.