“The years I spent working as a cook and a baker and the amount of time I spent teasing out the mysteries of flour, water, and salt shaped my approach to work.”
Eric Wolfinger is passionately diverse. His interests overlap most when he’s behind the lens shooting something he enjoys. There is a healthy separation and cooperation among everything that he does. He walks the line between passion and profession with rare deftness and prescience, preserving the sanctity of the things that give him life while turning his favorite pursuits into his life’s work. He’s a master at finding the story in everything from a loaf of bread to regional cuisine with centuries of history. While cooking a feast together for the book, Early Hues, we got to hear a bit of his.
Your work spans all kinds of forms, people, and locations. What does that diversity mean for you as an artist?
I’ve known for a long time that my favorite things in life are food, people and travel. Fifteen years ago I told a friend that my dream was to “travel the world, learn to cook, and somehow make a living doing that.” He laughed at me, and then we both wondered aloud about the ‘make a living’ part. I never dreamed that the answer would be photography. These days people know me as a “food photographer” – a pigeonhole helpful for business – but my driving motivation is the experience and the story that the food is a part of. If there is an “art” to what I do, I think it is being open to life and creatively responding to the challenges and opportunities it presents. Hopefully that comes across in my work; I have a strong point of view, but every project has it’s own story that wants to be told its own way.
What has been the most formative period in your life so far?
After college I moved to San Francisco to pursue a deep interest that I had never had the opportunity to take seriously — cooking. The years I spent working as a cook and a baker and the amount of time I spent teasing out the mysteries of flour, water, and salt shaped my approach to work.