Food photography is a lot harder than it sometimes looks. Restaurants so dim you need a flashlight to see your menu. Irate dinner companions who do not appreciate your Diane Arbus jokes while they're waiting for you to shoot their food from a dozen angles. Cluttered tables. Main dishes hidden behind strangely unphotogenic garnishes. Broken sauces. Melting ice cream. Hunks of meat. Anne Fishbein, who has been photographing food for the Weekly for the last dozen or so years, makes it look utterly effortless.
Fishbein's photography can be found not only in these pages, but in the Art Institute of Chicago, New York's Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Canada, Norton Family Collection and the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art. Oh, and she has a book too, with some pretty amazing photos of Russian bakers, among other portraits. Here are ten of Fishbein's best from the last year.
10. Otoro sushi at n/naka.
From Besha Rodell's review of n/naka, on Oct. 9. The fish is pretty great, but the rice is even better. A good sushi chef takes exquisite care of her rice -- here you can actually see how much care is involved. Check out the entire slideshow.
9. Slicing the ahi tuna tartare at the Church Key.
From Besha Rodell's review of the Church Key, on Dec. 18. One of the many things Fishbein excels at is her use of the stuff the rest of us often forget about: the plates and napkins, the forks and knives that can make the difference between food and composition. Check out the entire slideshow.
8. Assorted Austrian charcuterie at Bierbeisl.
7. Rib tips and sauce at Horse Thief.
From Farley Elliott's story about barbecue in Los Angeles on Nov. 14. If you've spent any time trying to take pictures of meat (bbq, slices of deli meat, especially hot dogs), you'll know how maddeningly difficult it is to do well. And that's not even taking into consideration the mechanics of the sauce. Check out the entire slideshow.
6. Corzetti in the pasta lab at Bucato.
From Besha Rodell's review of Bucato, on Sept. 18. Most of us can manage to take a decent shot of a colorful dish of pasta, but getting a stunning shot of the pasta itself is a much more difficult task. And what pasta. Check out the entire slideshow.
5. One oyster at Connie and Ted's.
4. Little Sister chef Tin Vuong.
From Besha Rodell's review of Little Sister in Manhattan Beach, on Nov. 26. What one often forgets, after so many gorgeous photographs of food, is Fishbein's tremendous skill as a portraitist. (Go read her book.) Check out the entire slideshow.
3. Lobster roll at Hinoki and the Bird.
2. Trout roe with peas and lemon curd at Red Medicine.
From Besha Rodell's list of L.A.'s 10 Best Dishes of 2013, on Dec. 23. Imagine the issues of lighting. Also imagine chef Jordan Kahn getting all that stuff into a fishbowl. Check out the entire slideshow.
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1. Strawberry, almond ice cream, rhubarb, rose ice, olive oil cake at Trois Mec.
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