manon houston

Food Photographer & Stylist

Mulberries in Istanbul

Manon HoustonComment

In May 2018 I went to Istanbul for 17 days to spend time at a food photography studio for personal development. I had been following the studio on Instagram for nearly two years, then contacted them because I wanted to try going abroad with work more. I found a place to stay with three girls I’d never met before, who became good friends to me. I felt so nervous the day I left with everything being so unknown, but I fitted in well and found the culture of Turkey so new and exciting. The eclectic mix of cultures, East meeting West, the incredible architecture, travelling by boat between each side of the city and the buzz of nightfall with it being ramadan. I commuted to the studio by bus, metro train and bus again every morning. The studio had an in-house chef who prepared us food for breakfast and lunch. I felt so lucky to be eating such delicious, traditional Turkish food every day. The studio photographs for a wide range of clients, many Turkish, but also international companies such as Caribou Coffee and KFC. I learnt loads being in the environment of the studio, and assisting Mehmet (the director) on shoots outside of the studio for Swissotel and on a trip to the city of Izmir for a Turkish restaurant shoot. The studio had an incredibly diverse and rich props room, with many hand finished background sets and handmade ceramic plates and bowls Mehmet had commissioned. I did some of my own shoots whilst at the studio using their props. It was a dream going to the market, picking out ingredients to photograph and dressing sets. I also photographed the mulberry, which grows around Istanbul. I went out and picked some branches and the most beautiful berries I could find. I found them evocative of how I felt being there. I think they’re a wonderful shape. They will always remind me of my time in the city.