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Foodography by Adrion

This food photographer's work might be all over the nation, but she calls Evans home

Strangely enough, Adrion Bell did not set out to be the successful food photographer that she is today. Initially, she was a meteorologist. “It was brutal!” she jokes. “It was one of those jobs you can do absolutely everything right and still be absolutely wrong… Like, people will just say, ‘It’s beautiful out. We don’t need you!’”

For Adrion, photography was just a hobby, something to do in the meantime of her other work. Adrion has been doing photography work since 2002, but it wasn’t until she seemingly stumbled into the profession of legitimate food photography that she finally found, in her own words, “the right fit.” While at first wary of working with inanimate models instead of human ones, Adrion soon found herself to be thrilled at the prospect of this line of work. Initially working for a corporation in the first couple years of her food photography career, she has spent the last seventeen years growing her business into what it is today: a booming food photography business whose work can be found on countless billboards, cookbooks, and magazines, along with the work she does within the realms of the local restaurant scene. Adrion frequently works with local restaurants to create a unified and organic visual product to promote them.

Describing her process, Adrion explains that she works closely with clients, paying careful attention to everything from the general feel of the restaurant to the brand colors. “I want you to be able to look at the picture from that place and recognize the experience you’ll get when you dine there,” she says. A major part of her artistry is taking natural, organic photos of the food without the unnecessary photo doctoring or tricks that we might stereotypically be used to experiencing when we think of food photography. “I’m not doing any of the crazy tricks. They’ve cooked it - that’s how it looks. I’m not trying to capture some unbelievable thing. We all know the fast-food ordering boards. Nothing you get looks like that.” She and a small team work diligently, at times photographing over 200 items during a single session. “My passion is in the shooting, in delivering something that can benefit these companies and businesses.”

Adrion is also very passionate about cultivating the local scene through her work. As a business owner herself, she understands the small details and even drops off some of the food used in the shoots to local fire departments and community kitchens. “We are a community,” Bell explains. “Especially since COVID, a lot of us have been hurting. So anything I can do to help, especially family-based businesses...you know, the small mom and pop shops, the single mom baking cookies out of her cottage kitchen...I want to help. I’m a single parent as well…I’m in this with them. Finding ways that we can help each other is hugely important.”

Adrion's work challenges her perceptions. “I have been exposed to so many foods that I would not have tried otherwise,” she adds. “I am very timid with trying new things, especially with foods that are from areas that I am not familiar with.” With her line of work, she explains that she has gained a new level of understanding of the foods of other cultures, as she has worked personally with the people who have crafted the dishes. Experiencing these dishes and ingredients for herself has enabled her to expand her palate in ways she never expected. Her children, whose palates have grown as well, have become, as she says, "very used to leftovers."  With a laugh, Adrion explains that she has become an expert in restaurant recommendations. “As soon as people hear that I shoot food, they want recommendations. I am more than happy to give a recommendation for some little place - especially the hole-in-the-wall spots.” She continues with a smile, “The little places that are off the beaten path are truly my favorite places to be.”

Adrion's life has been affected deeply by her line of work. She describes herself as both a creative and a technical person, and her field allows her to marry the two perspectives nicely. “I love working for and by myself,” Adrion says. Her job allows much more control over her life than the usual nine-to-five, and she’s able to spend more time with her children and be the best mother she can be for them. She also explains that, “It puts me in absolute control of my time and the direction I want to go. I love being creative…so having an outlet where I get to play with color and shape and the technical side of photography really meets those needs for me in both left brain and right brain.”

The technicality of Adrion's work can become overwhelming, which drives her deeper into her craft. When needing a reset, she shares, "I'll just shoot something at home. I’ll make some fun cocktails or bake some muffins or something and photograph them on my countertop...just for that creative outlet to kind of regain my focus.” Additionally, Adrion teaches classes on Food Photography for Helms College. Her portfolio knows few borders; she’s the kind of artist that is able to see her work on the sides of vehicles and on the front pages of online menus. At her core, Adrion is a creative, a major asset to her field, a self-starter who is passionate about her art and eager to build genuine relationships with her clients and their communities.

Adrion Bell Photography has photographed food for local restaurants including Southern Salad, Whipped Creamery, Humanitree, Mi Rinconcito, and Wise Guys Pizza. To contact Adrion, visit AdrionBell.com or call 706-825-5745.

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