AN EVENING AT THE – THEN – THREE-STAR RESTAURANT L’AUBERGE DE L’ILL
IN ASSIGNMENT FOR MEDIA PARTNERS, PUBLISHED IN ALLERHANDE 10 / OCTOBER 1998
My very first assignment for AllerHande, supermarket Albert Heijn’s magazine. Four pages in the October 1998 edition and the cover!
AllerHande, how? As a self-taught photographer, I loved photography and wanted to be able to photograph everything! This also applies to food photography, preferably with the accompanying location photography.
At the end of 1997 I had Media Partners – now Media Partners Group B.V. or MPG – sent an acquisition email with a few inkjet prints of my work. That’s how I did it then. About three quarters of a year later I received an invitation from art director Ger Schoolenaar to come by in connection with an assignment. Wow, it was really going to happen!
That assignment included a report on the – then still – three-star restaurant l’Auberge de l’Ill in Illhaeusern and the surrounding area. In Alsace, France, near the city of Colmar and the town of Riquewihr. With photography of the two brothers Jean-Pierre and Paul Haeberlin, the basis of the culinary success, Paul’s son Marc and the sommelier Serge Dubs, named the best wine waiter in the world in 1989.
I did not have to photograph the dish intended for the article in AllerHande, it was already planned in a studio, for a real food photographer. But of course it was allowed.
In the Netherlands I also had to visit the well-known wine expert Hubrecht Duijker for a portrait, who has been working as a full-time wine writer since 1974.
Great, a bit of everything! At that time this was still on the edge of my comfort zone. I had hardly made any portraits before, let alone of such famous people. And a three-star restaurant. Then I actually needed a reflection screen, right? Never worked with it before, so bought a reflection screen. Now it was time for the real thing!
To make the story short, it was a fantastic experience! The portrait went well, they were also very nice people. I was also so happy with the sunny weather, for photography of the area. From the old center of Colmar with the beautifully colored half-timbered houses and the picturesque town of Riquewihr, located among the vineyards. But especially for that evening that I photographed the terrace from the other side of the stream Ill, Ill with a capital i and two ‘ells’. At the table on the right was a perfect ‘set’, a lady in a red dress and a man with a white shirt, it couldn’t have been better. The contrast between the terrace and the white, sunlit restaurant was great, and a total shot was not beautiful. So the restaurant and therefore the parasols at the top I kept out of the picture and photographed them in the reflection. From a tripod of course, because I was working with Fuji Velvia 50 slide film, or ISO 50.
One of the Haeberlins asked if I would also like to photograph the dish scheduled for the studio? Yes, why not. It also turned out to be so successful that the studio no longer had to work on it. The bacon was apparently a bit un-Dutch in size, but my photo was published.
Where people work, they also have to eat, especially with food photography. The lunch offered by Auberge de l’Ill, a salmon soufflé, was world class! If you are an enthusiast and plan to be in the Alsace, the Auberge is highly recommended. Now two Michelin stars, so make a reservation.
The day that Ger Schoolenaar showed me the layout of the article at the Media Partners head office was very special. He asked me to walk with him to a computer screen. It featured the cover of the AllerHande edition 10, October 1998. With my photo of the town of Riquewihr filling the cover! A nice boost for a novice photographer, thanks Ger!