Our favorite food photographer is about to expose a deeper, darker side.
Pictured: “Farmer’s Table, Still Life,” 2014, photograph, Yelena Strokin.
She begins with a single object. It could be anything. Or nothing. Sometimes, it’s the perspective alone that starts stirring her thoughts. And once they’re set in motion, they’ll consume her for weeks on end. Gradually, she’ll begin to piece together a composition. Only when she knows it inside and out does she retreat to her studio. There, the process accelerates, but it’s still methodical, even though the light is fleeting. Shoot. Shift incrementally. Shoot again. And so on.
You know Yelena Strokin as the stylist, photographer and recipe author behind our Home Cooking column, the woman capable of making you crave just about anything at the mere turn of a page. But there’s a greater depth to Yelena and her photography that few beyond her own family are privy to. That’ll change next month when she’ll debut a collection of still-life photographs in the A-Space Gallery at the New Hope Arts Center. It’s Yelena’s first solo show, but not her first exhibit. In 2014, she was awarded Best of Show at the 22d annual Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibit, an affirmation for the self-taught photographer, but hardly a coming-out party.
Yelena took up photography when she started traveling—Nepal, India, Southeast Asia. But fine art has had a strong grip on her since she was a little girl in St. Petersburg, Russia. Its influence is clear in her coming exhibition (which she titled “A Glimpse Through the Flemish Window” as a nod to the roots of still-life painting). But over the course of the four years Yelena spent shooting the collection, it’s just as evident in those 30 or so images that she matured from awe-inspired student to an artist of her own right. —Scott Edwards
“A Glimpse Through the Flemish Window,” September 2 (opening reception: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) through Sept. 29, the A-Space Gallery at the New Hope Arts Center.