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New Happenings

La Gloria

So....things have little topsy turvy this summer to say the least. That's not to say they are bad...just a little more messy than I am used to.

You see, this summer I decided to embark on a passion project I have been working up in my head for some time now. I decided to take some things I am very passionate about and combine them into one place where my skill set could grow and flourish. Sometimes as creatives, we don't get the projects that showcase our best work, so instead of waiting for the opportunity, I decided to make the opportunity. And so, Plate South was born. 
 

Plate South is a blog that I have created for my very own selfish purposes. I have always been a huge fan of photographing people and their stories as well as lifestyle around those stories. And I love food - I mean, really...who doesn't? I really love food photography as well. So I created a blog designed to highlight all the talents I have as a photographer, a writer, a designer and a foodie.

Plate South is about the culture of food in the South. It's about eating. It's about dining out. It's about the makers and the purveyors. It's about the markets and the recipes. It's about everything that makes up the growing, evolving, changing food scene we are now experiencing as a culture. 
 

This is Eddie.  You should read about him on the blog . He was an amazing character to interview!

This is Eddie. You should read about him on the blog. He was an amazing character to interview!

This blog is for me. But it's also for you. If you are passionate about food or southern food or food photography, this is something to follow.

I am still for hire. I REPEAT...I AM STILL FOR HIRE! This is just something I am doing as a side project for myself to showcase to you some of the talents I have as a photographer. So enjoy the blog and read along. You are sure to find some little nugget of what you like along the way.
 

Let me know what you think and what I can do to make it better! If you have an idea, feel free to call me and let me know! I'd love your feedback!

Much love! And thanks for all the support, friends!

Libby

Cooking up a plan

From my shoot with  Charleston Shop Curator  out at Wild Dunes recently. More to come!

From my shoot with Charleston Shop Curator out at Wild Dunes recently. More to come!

I have been spending time this summer cooking up a new project I have become pretty passionate about. I didn't realize when I started mulling it over in the beginning of this process that it would actually come to pass. Ideas around here can be like throwing pots of spaghetti at the wall - you just have to see what sticks. And when it does, you know it's ready.

I am enjoying the extra push it's taking to get a project going. It's made me realize a lot about passion and how the things you are really just obsessed with eventually bubble up to make themselves known. You can't deny passions. They consume you and push you to do more.

And that is a good thing.

 

Lessons

golf

I love learning new things. I am admittedly a perfectionist which can get in the way sometimes. But I really believe learning new things can be life changing.

Okay...sure....maybe a single golf lesson can't change your life. But I am a firm believer that learning a new skill can give anyone a chance to approach the things they do every day just a little differently. So perfecting and practicing that frustrating golf swing could open up a new opportunity with a skill you are trying to perfect at work (hello, WordPress!). Or maybe learning a new recipe actually helps catapult those changes in your diet you have been hoping to make. Sometimes the change is directly related, and sometimes...not so much.

Whether you sign up for a golf lesson, take a cooking class or listen to a new podcast, learning something new is a great way to change the direction of our current path. It's a great way to open ourselves up to the possibilities of something new.

The Intersection of Joy and Work.

dandy boutique
venita

I had a great time shooting this series for Dandy Boutique here in Charleston recently. The photos are so happy, bright and joyful. And that Venita sure can have a good time on a shoot. She is like a pre-packaged party for 1!

This shoot was so fun and light that it got me thinking a lot about the intersection of joy and work. This is not something people are lucky to have. Some people have very serious jobs (hello and thank you, doctors of the world) that require some often sensitive and precarious interactions. So how do you create joy wherever you are in life, despite what is happening all around you?

I think that answer is as varied as the jobs in the world. For, me it boils down to a few essential things. I know gratitude helps me a lot. And knowing I am only a small part of a bigger plan in this universe also can get me through the harder and more serious times like when I am focused on the drudgery of taxes and bills and broken computers. But I believe it's different for all of us. Sometimes a good cup of coffee might actually change your whole day.

I don't think joy is a permanent thing - every day has good points and not-so-good points. But knowing that I am doing something I love every day certainly helps me enjoy the better part of my life and focus on the parts that aren't so bad after all.

So I believe the joy is there. Sometimes it hides behind the little things. But I do believe it's always there, just waiting to come out and play.

The Tastemakers

Amalia Scatena | Executive Chef at  Cannon Green

Amalia Scatena | Executive Chef at Cannon Green

Chef BJ Dennis  | Personal Chef and Culinary Artist

Chef BJ Dennis | Personal Chef and Culinary Artist

Carrie Morey | Owner of Callie’s Biscuits

Dantera Richardson | Owner of  Swank Desserts

Dantera Richardson | Owner of Swank Desserts

Vinson Petrillo|  Head Chef at  Zero George Cafe + Bar

Vinson Petrillo|  Head Chef at Zero George Cafe + Bar

Vonda Freeman |  The Beverage Director of  Indigo Road Group

Vonda Freeman |  The Beverage Director of Indigo Road Group

As you may know, some of my very favorite things in the world (in no particular order) are as follows: Food, Photography, People, Portraits, Fashion. So few weeks ago when I got a call from my girl Andrea of Charleston Shop Curator to see if I wanted to photograph some ofCharleston's best tastemakers, I leaped at the chance to do this project (Truth be told, I sort of forced her to call me with my voodoo magic, but don't tell her that). Her roster of individuals included some of Charleston's leaders in the food & wine industry right now - coming from all corners of the business.

These people work tirelessly to give us the best dining and drinking experience that Charleston is known for.  And on the cusp of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, the timing was perfect to highlight these amazing people in a way they don't normally get to be shown to the public.

Since these people are usually seen and photographed in their apron, chef jacket, crocs, Andrea and her partner, Venita, had the great idea enhancing their already amazing styles with a fashion shoot.  And lucky for us, Cannon Green graciously let us shoot with their beautiful restaurant as the backdrop to our great shoot.

Did I mention I love what I do?

If you aren't familiar with these names, I highly recommend you get familiar with them. Each of these F+B pros bring something uniquely amazing to the experience of food in the Charleston Area.

Organic Farming

dirt
seed packets

You wouldn't think farming would be one of those careers that would require the tender care and patience of a mom with a newborn, but it does. The sleepless nights. The worry. The patience. The uncertainty. They all come with the territory. And decision making for times of crisis come along when you least expect it.

When unknowns come along like cold snaps, flooded fields and bugs feasting happily on your delicate plants, you are left as heartbroken as a parent watching their child struggle through an illness they picked up at that birthday party over at the Chuckie Cheese's. Helpless and frustrated, you do what you can. And you ride the wave in hopes that it's not a total loss.

Then there is the blood, sweat and tears that go into it. The reading. The research. The uncertainty. But you keep pressing on, like a weary soldier. You do the work because it's your passion and joy. For the organic farmer, there is no easy answer. There is no shortcut.

Just like parenting, it's all just trial and error. And hard, hard work paired with a whole lotta love and care.

For more information on Jim, his farm share and his awesome ingredients, visit his website.

The Internship

The Intern - with Andrea from Charleston Shop Curator

The Intern - with Andrea from Charleston Shop Curator

I have a special treat today! I had an intern with me all week last week...an intern also known as my 13 year old son - Graham. We had quite a busy week of shoots and meetings and all things shown to people who run small businesses like invoicing and estimates and emails and...well...you get the idea.

I also showed him the ins and outs of social media and blogging (one of the biggest parts of my days). So as a treat, I asked him to write about his experience on the week and what we did.

So without further delay....here it is! Take it away GRAHAM!

____________________________________________

The Potato Roll from O-Ku, Charleston, SC

The Potato Roll from O-Ku, Charleston, SC

This past week I was on an internship with my mom, Libby of Libby Williams Photographs. All in all, this whole week has been really fun. I got to experience the weird schedule that my mom has, the people she works with, and all the things it takes to run a business of your own. We had a lot of shooting this week, but did some other really important things that it takes to run a business (like blogging, social media and billing!).

On Monday, we went to Botany Bay Plantation and Steamboat Landing down in Edisto for a personal project she was working on. Tuesday afternoon and evening, we had a photo shoot at a new restaurant in town called 5 Church with the Charleston Shop Curator and The Cocktail Bandits. It was part fashion and part food and lots of fun! Wednesday was a shoot at the Asian restaurant O-Ku – which was my personal favorite – with the Charleston Shop Curator again. It was more fashion, food and fun which seems to be a theme they are working on together (I could get used to that!). And finally on Friday morning, we had a photo shoot with the owner of Compost in My Shoe (Jim) where we photographed him and the process of what it takes to run an organic farm. This is an ongoing project my mom is working on with Jim and has been happening for about a year.

Of course there was lots of other business I learned about, but the shoots for me were the highlight of what we did.

The whole week has been amazing and a truly fun. Who knew work could be fun! Sadly this might be the last time I intern with her... so thank you so much mom for everything that you do and this amazing experience I got to share with you!

_____________

Awwww...you are welcome buddy! I am going to miss my little pack mule next week. Come back anytime!

Brunch at Indaco

menu
milk and honey
patatas bravas
Andrea2
hash
Andrea
bloody mary
secrets
pizza
brunch
boys
pizza

I recently went to brunch at Indaco, with the always lovely Andrea from Charleston Shop Curator, and her adorable family for a special feature on her blog. To say that the food was tremendous would be an understatement. To say that we ate like kings for a day would be more than a grand understatement as well. It was, without a doubt, one of the best meals I have had in a while.

Charleston is brimming with restaurant options these days, so brunch can be a hard choice in a city filled with delicious options. But this gem did not disappoint in any way. Not only were we seated immediately, but the service was perfectly timed. And the food....AAAGGGHHH!!! The FOOD! So good! We powered through Patatas Bravas (the best thing we ate), Milk and Honey (perhaps the best ricotta I have ever tasted), Breakfast Pizza (eggs on pizza for the WIN), Nutella Pizza, the Chorizo dish and Eggs Al Forno (I die), washed down with a slow gin fizz and a bloody mary (spicy and delicious). Not a bad way to end the weekend.

If you are in Charleston, don't walk... RUN to this brunch. The food was incredible, and the staff could not have been more accommodating to our eccentric group of diners - not to mention me snapping photos of every dish that came out. It couldn't have been a better experience.

Indaco is on Upper King Street and is open for brunch on Sundays.

A Collection of My Favorites, 2015 - Commercial Work Edition

Bad Bitches, Body Image Campaign

Bad Bitches, Body Image Campaign

Ashley Hall School, spring magazine shoot

Ashley Hall School, spring magazine shoot

Beth, Founder of Bendy Brewski

Beth, Founder of Bendy Brewski

City Paper, Hurling article

City Paper, Hurling article

Workbench,  City Paper  Article

Workbench, City Paper Article

Charleston Shop Curator, blog shoot

Charleston Shop Curator, blog shoot

Charleston Shop Curator ,     Scout Guide

Charleston Shop Curator, Scout Guide

Bad Bitches, Body Image Campaign

Bad Bitches, Body Image Campaign

The Farmer & The Chef, promotional portrait

The Farmer & The Chef, promotional portrait

Benji, portrait for  Charleston   City Paper

Benji, portrait for Charleston City Paper

Above is by far some of my favorite work from 2015. There were a few times over the course of this year I literally wanted to pinch myself when I realized more than once I was doing exactly what it was I set out to do originally.

Next year I can only hope to further this endeavor I set out on years ago, camera in hand, hopes as high as the mountains. I can hardly wait to see what 2016 brings!

Special thanks to all those who believe in me, support me, and encourage me every step of the way. I love this job of mine.

The Bad Bitches

I recently got a phone call from an amazing group of women here in town called the Bad Bitches. This all-female organization is tied together by their love of all things food. Not only are they hosting exciting and highly sought-after pop-up events around the city, but 100% of their ticket sales go to women in need of assistance to establish themselves in the culinary field. So it's food + feel good! Two of my very favorite things!

As they started on their mission this past year to host events around the city and through all their interviews and discussions, conversations began to pop up that never seemed to get asked of their male counterparts. Questions like "How do you keep your figure?" "Do you eat everything you make?" or "Do you ever feel guilty about eating so much?" began creeping into the conversation. So they decided to answer these questions with an EPIC social media campaign on Instagram: Bad Bitches Talk Body.

When I got the email asking if I'd be interested in supporting them on this storytelling mission, I almost jumped into my car to hug founder of Bad Bitched founder, Sarah Adams, immediately. It was like everything I had ever wanted, worked for, loved and desired came into focus all of a sudden. All the things I love and people I admire were coming together to talk about something near and dear to my heart - body image.

We photographed and interviewed 17 women in one day. Seventeen. All of them came and brought something to the table that was uniquely them and unique to their story about body image. Some of them had struggles. Some of them kicked worry to the curb. But the one thing they share - they are all beautiful in all the ways they should be. Every one of them.

Each story is as uniquely inspiring as each of these women, stripped bare and speaking of the issues they face as women in the food industry. They are all interesting. They are all worth reading. Mostly though, they are all worth getting to know.

"People who love to eat are always the best people!" -Julia Child
 

The support of the crowd

Acrobatics at the Charleston Parks Conservancy's Party for the Parks.

If you really think about it, life is a lot like a series of strung together circus acts. Juggling, twirling, death-defying and the center ring are all parts of everyday life. The only thing missing is the cheering, gasping crowd. After I perform acts of life-changing kindness or jaw-dropping stunts in my life, I think the support of a crowd, cheering behind me would be enough to motivate me to move on to the next impossible act.

 

Getting lost in the Books.

old books

"Anyone who said they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book." -Unknown

I could wander aimlessly around old bookstores and libraries. The musty smells, the lofty dreams, the vast knowledge. They are all reason for me to take to meandering through the aisles and getting lost between pages for hours on end, never to pick my head up out of the possibility of life.. 

 

 

This is depression.

benji lee

I recently got to shoot some very special portraits for a music feature in the Charleston City Paper on local comeback musician, Benji Lee. The weird part, however, was the shoot and the article really weren't focused at all on his music, his drumming, or even his comeback to the local music scene. The article focused acutely and specifically on his depression.

In my all-too-short time with Benji, we were on a fast track to get to know each other (shooting editorial will do that to you). I don't think there would have been any other way for either of us, though. We became immediate friends. I picked Benji up north on the peninsula of Charleston and we took as short drive to some old, rusty storage shed for the horse drawn carriages near the waterfront. I needed a spot that was a little imperfect. Not the "South of Broad" facade my typical clients request. I needed something real and honest and gritty. I needed something to reflect what I was about to see spilled open in front of my very eyes.

In so many ways, I feel more connected to this shoot I did with Benji than any other shoot I have done in a while. His pure candor and sheer honesty made me want to show more. His humility and gentle spirit made me want to linger all afternoon - asking questions and picking his brain.  I wanted to photograph his insides. His heart and soul. I wanted to show his truth.

So on that steamy afternoon, I found a shady spot to spend a short time with my new hero. He would most likely shun that label, but I think Benji is a brave soldier - fighting the battle every day with depression...slugging it out with himself and still standing strong in the face of one of the worst diseases of all.

If you care to ready about Benji and his battle, check out the Charleston City Paper this week.

In the mean time, warrior on, brave souls. Warrior on.

 

Recent muse-ings

A sneak peek at a collaboration with Andrea from Charleston Shop Curator and Scout Magazine in Charleston - 2 of my most favorite things . 

A sneak peek at a collaboration with Andrea from Charleston Shop Curator and Scout Magazine in Charleston - 2 of my most favorite things . 

We have a great and rapidly growing fashion scene here in Charleston. Having spent the better part of my life surrounded by the cobblestone streets, quaintly colored buildings, and sandy beaches of the area, it's refreshing to see fashion has evolved right alongside this beautiful and rapidly growing city.  I attribute this to nothing less than people like Andrea who are at the forefront of the Charleston fashion scene. determined to make our liveable and loveable city more than the bow ties and seersucker it seems to be known for. Andrea spends her time painting this place with a palette of color and style that matches the scene here - progressive, beautiful and timeless. It's a refreshing change and modern view of everything good about our city.

Check out Andrea and her site when you get the chance. You won't be disappointed! And keep your eyes peeled for our collaboration with The Scout Guide! Coming soon!

Cheers!

Victory

Surfers Healing Event. Folly Beach, SC

Surfers Healing Event. Folly Beach, SC

The joy of victory is such an amazing feeling. That feeling when you accomplish something you thought was bigger than yourself is always something to celebrate - no matter how big or small. Victories are life's way of showing you strength that hides in places we often don't recognize.

This week, I got to witness hundreds of victories - small and large. I went out the the Surfers Healing event held on Folly Beach to photograph a friend of mine who was volunteering and dedicates a great deal of time to this event every year. And I am so glad I got to see this event first hand. The love, joy and pride everyone felt there was palpable. 

This event got me thinking about victories though. Victories come in all shapes and sizes. And honestly, they look different for everyone. But the end result is always the same - beaming pride and joyful triumph. I saw it in the joyful faces of the kids as they rode waves into the shore. I caught the pride in the parent's eyes as they watched this their children feel normal for a short period of time. And I felt victory resonate from every volunteer on the beach helping these sweet children accomplish something they thought was perhaps bigger than them. These were all victories to be celebrated. 

Victories don't need to be sought out though. They only need to be noticed. They only need a hand in saying - look, I actually did this thing that I thought was bigger than me or I thought I couldn't do. It could be raising a special needs child on your own. It could be making a meal from scratch. Or it could be catching a wave into the shore. Some things deserve the reverence of victory!

Whatever shape victories take in our lives, they need to be celebrated and honored. Revered and noticed. Otherwise, your victories - small and large - lose their impact. And everything just becomes no big deal.

So go ahead and cheer for yourself! Be blatant! Ride that wave and celebrate yourself! Just go ahead and be victorious!

 

Bendy Boozy

Bendy Brewski (or Boozy) at High Wire Distilling Co.

Bendy Brewski (or Boozy) at High Wire Distilling Co.

Last weekend, I punished/treated myself to a little yoga with my good friend Beth here. Beth runs an amazing business teaching yoga at breweries and distilleries around the area and throughout the Southeast. Her company - called Bendy Brewski Yoga - teaches yoga to all levels and follows it up with a drink. If you didn't know already, these are 2 of my very most favorite things in the world! So someone combining them just made sense....at least in my little world. 

On the morning I took this photo, she asked me to bring my camera to grab a few shot of the people and the class. In turn, because I am selfish and loveLOVEL-O-V-E doing portraits of people doing what they do, I asked her to pose for a photo for me! And thankfully she cooperated graciously and gracefully! I just love this girl! She is honestly one of the best people I know.

If you are curious or are interested in starting classes, Beth's classes are the place to begin. If you are a seasoned pro, they are still the place to be. Boy or girl. Short or tall. Generous or slim. She really does a great job with all levels and types.  So come out and visit me at one of her classes.