Nearly one in five UK children under 15 lives in a home where the parents cannot afford to put food on the table.

BMJ 2019;364:l1261

It came as a big surprise to know that the UK struggles with hunger poverty.

This sort of statistic isn’t what I associate with a developed country like Britain. In 2020, the problem was exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic, with a 95% rise in families with children receiving food parcels2.

Bankuet, the UK’s first zero waste donation platform, has been involved in tackling the problem of food poverty. In an age where you can pretty much do everything online, from ordering food to finding your new bff… what about an online food bank? Bankuet make it easy for people to donate to food banks what they really need, when they need it. As you’d expect, there is a surplus of goods like pasta and tinned vegetables, but not enough of other essentials like household items and toiletries.3

holding plated coconut macaroons
Filipino coconut macaroons, recipe by Vicky Willcock
1/80 | f/5.6 | ISO 100 | 37mm

The cookbook

⁣On one of my usual mindless Instagram scrolls, I noticed a story that mentioned food photography for a charity cookbook. Immediately intrigued, I searched to find out more.

Fast forward 3 months and The Food Fighters: Celebrating the power of food cookbook is published. All profits of the cookbook go towards Bankuet’s amazing work in addressing the food poverty crisis across the UK.

viennese mince pie christmas flatlay
Viennese topped mince pies, recipe by Laura Rowe
1/200 | f/5.0 | ISO 160 | 35mm

I had the privilege to do some food photography for three of the recipes that appear in the cookbook. Each recipe with its own personal story as to how it was significant to them.

It was a great experience to be able to be a part of such an amazing cause. The cherry on top was collaborating with a talented bunch of folk from all different backgrounds, talents and expertise.

slice of apple cake
Torta di mele (apple cake), recipe by Marta Fabiani
1/80 | f/5.0 | ISO 100 | 31mm

Final thoughts

I came away from my first experience in cookbook photography with a couple of learnings going forward in my food photography journey:

  • My love for visual storytelling – this was one of my favourite aspects about this project. Each recipe I got to shoot was accompanied by a little snippet explaining why this recipe was significant to them. It was inspiring to have the backstory to inform the final visuals and made it all the more meaningful.
  • Cookbook photography is definitely something I want to continue doing.
  • I gravitate towards projects that help make the world a little better.

References

1 Food insecurity in UK is among worst in Europe, especially for children, says committee (BMJ 2019;364:l126)

2 Food poverty in the UK: The causes, figures and solutions (April 2021)

3 Food Fighters: The charity cookbook making sure no child goes hungry (May 2021)


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