Bye to dentistry, hello to food photography

Mira Fathima’s accomplishments were not born to blush unseen. Endowed with talents aplenty, this dentist turned food stylist has a lot to boast of. But how come this career shift from medicine to food?

Totally unexpected, almost like a tryst with destiny.

Post marriage, Mira who relocated to Saudi Arabia found time gaping at her. Though a dentist, she found it rather tough to land a job there. Things took a curious turn when her husband gifted her a camera on her birthday, which came as a blessing to the young bride. Mira Fathima soon picked up the nuances of the camera from the net and was all set to click her shots.

But then, what to click, was the next question. Though chances of an outing were few and far between, she turned to the objects around her. Her home became her studio. Her first models turned out to be the food she cooked and the way they were laid out, says Mira Fathima. The effect of the pictures triggered in her a deeper interest to learn how dishes could be stylishly served and laid out. She looked up site after site for more ideas, all the while clicking away as she laid out her spread. 

She would take shots of the dishes she cooked and send them to friends. This was followed by her personal space on Instagram, a venture called Beginner’s Lens. The concept paid off and today, food photography has become an indispensable part of Mira Fathima’s life.

The thought that she could carry this forward as a serious profession occurred when she started working in tandem with hotels and food bloggers who were highly appreciative of her creative style. Though her euphoria at this recognition was initially met with lukewarm reception at home, her style and substance gave way to wholehearted family support.

However, the turning point came when she held a workshop on food photography and styling in Kochi, upon her return from Saudi Arabia. She now works to order and designs food pictures as per client demands. 

Almost all her clicks are done under natural lighting and seldom does she go for made up shades. Mira’s pictures are a testimony to this natural effect of photography.

Fathima blows away the misconception that food photography is the sole prerogative of professionals and a tough domain to have a smooth go. This is a myth, she says. Anyone can become a food stylist, she adds. All one needs is either a smartphone or a camera. 

Though she prefers the natural light of the day, she makes changes when clients ask for different lighting. The magic of a picture lies in the kind of food prepared, the background where it’s set and the overall atmosphere of the setting, says the artist. Her Instagram account is a guide of sorts where she provides tips on how to get the best visual effects from food. And people do respond to her venture and often call her up. 

“The fact that my work, despite the constraints I often find myself in, has inspired others to do likewise is something that gives me such joy and it’s my deepest desire to be acknowledged as one of Kerala’s finest food photographers”, says Mira.

The whole family is with her today. Apart from her husband, her parents and her sister are a solid support base. They take care of Mira’s baby daughter when she is out for her pictures or on assignments. 

Mira says she would love to conduct more workshops. “I’m there for all who would love to learn this art”, she says.  

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