Of all the images photographers are asked to shoot when working on cookbooks, chapter openers or ‘breaks’ can be the ones with the loosest – sometimes non-existent! – briefs. Occasionally, they are very tightly briefed: thought out meticulously and plotted over with precision. What’s always the case is that they are there to provide a slight break within the book – to literally make you pause before considering a new chapter of recipes. As such, they are often nice things to work on: to forge a different kind of effect from the other 40 or 50 shots you are considering.
They can go in many different ways… It might be that utensils or empty plates and dishes gives a nod to the subject of the new chapter (1, below). It might be that there are extra shots of certain dishes that can provide a fresh image to begin a new part of the book with (2). It might be that a much closer crop of a dish or ingredient forms a visual break from the more full-out shots that have gone before (3). Or it might be that an art director or designer wants to break from food altogether and so something plain or even abstract becomes the focus of the chapter openers instead (4).
There are a number ways to go, some of which you’re aware of at the time, some of which come about once the design team and publishers have done their thing, but I always like to see the way different results work for different books
(1) A chapter break from the book, Hashi, where sushi fans and bowls indicate what lays ahead.
(2) A chapter break from the book, Aga Roast, where a second take of one of the featured recipes from within the chapter signposts the new section.
(3) A chapter break from the book, Sweet Things from the Aga, where close-in attention to a tray of gorgeous roasted slices sets the scene with some impact.
(4) And finally, a chapter break from the book, Atul’s Curries of the World, where design elements lead the way over an abstract-looking sheet of metal (a detail from one of the baking sheets on set!).
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