Mangoes in the summer in Australia are amazing- during my first summer here in Sydney I went crazy for them. Every Sunday I would buy a box of 20 mangoes for 20 bucks and spend the next couple days dripping with juice, eating them over the sink. My mother-in-law grew up in South Africa and her fondest memories of Christmas always involved piles of mangoes (and that's all that she ever wants from us for Christmas). Needless to say, I was pretty excited when the people who represent Aussie Mangoes contacted me to do some shots for them. Along with shooting some mango recipes for them they really wanted to show a family doing what Aussie families do best- having barbecues and having fun outside.
After a little searching we ended up lucking out and finding a fantastic family for the shoot. It's not always possible, but if I have the opportunity, I always prefer to work with a real family as opposed to a family made up of assorted talent. The main reason is that, well, it's real. I always think that it serves the client in a better way because they can say, "Yes, this really is a real family enjoying themselves" and it helps me do my job faster because we don't have to worry about any awkwardness- we can dive right in. It also helps with how I approach these types of shoot days. I'm usually presented with a shot list in the brief and I use that as a guide to how the days will flow. Once we get the wardrobe, maybe some props and other lighting/tech things set up I like to push that stuff out of my mind and begin the shoot. In this case, I spent the days cooking and eating with the family, cleaning up, having dessert and then running around in the back yard in the sprinklers with the kids. The end result is that we have a lot of fun and we get a lot of real moments of a family spending time together. I'd say the only negative thing about doing this shoot was that the mom was a little exasperated that I had gotten the kids so wound up and had fed them something like a dozen mangoes each- I think she was a little worried that they were never going to go to sleep again. I got to go home with about 20 kilos of mangoes and spent the next week making mango chutney, mango jam, mango pavlova...
Slicing the Mango
Scooping the mango cheeks out of the skin with a glass.
The mango cheeks removed
Mango, spinach, chicken and white bean salad
Mango, prawn and rocket salad with a capsicum vinaigrette
Grilled Lamb and Mangoes