Irina Meliukh – food blogger, recipe developer, chef, food stylist, food photographer and now hobby farmer is a true multi-talent. A life full of hustle and bustle and love as a mother and creative, full of happiness and pride. We asked Irina what drives her and what her life as a food photographer is like, including the ups and downs.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
We built our own house and moved to a very small village, I now have a very spacious kitchen and a practical home studio. Before we lived in a tiny apartment where everything was cluttered and very difficult. I also have my own garden now, which helps a lot with food styling because I always have fresh, beautiful produce at my fingertips. I’m now not only a recipe developer, cook, food stylist and food photographer, but also a farmer, which is not so easy, but I’m trying to learn and love the process.
Are there any challenges in your job?
Yes, when we had our second daughter and all the time I was trying and still am trying to balance my life as a food photographer and mother of two young children. That’s the most wonderful (and challenging) aspect of my job, that I can stay home with my kids all the time and still manage to take some food photos.
Does being a mother and an independent photographer have its advantages?
I am really happy that I can be creative in addition to my main job as a mom. For example, I photographed 30 step-by-step recipes for a client when I was 9 months pregnant, I shot some food photos just before I went into the hospital, and I returned to my camera very soon after giving birth.
What makes you happy?
Now that my two kids are getting older, they are interested in what I do. They help me cook, set up before a shoot, press the camera button, and even pose as hand models. It’s a wonderful time to spend together.
What are you especially proud of?
I think in the last few years I have not only developed my own very recognizable rustic wood style, but I have also moved away from it. I started shooting in a lighter, more modern style. That was quite difficult because new things scare me, but now I’m comfortable with more styles. Since I’ve been shooting almost continuously for the last seven years, I think I’ve developed both my food photography and food styling skills. This year, 5 of my images were nominated for the Pink Lady Food Photography Award in the Food Styling category. And since I taught myself everything, I’m very proud of that.