San Francisco-based artist and photographer Joseph Weaver traveled to the Hawaiian island of Kauai to showcase the dishes and architectural elements of the new market and restaurant Living Foods. Known for his unique storytelling approach to food, Joseph’s images invite guests to indulge in the socially conscious products and high-quality ingredients of the locally sourced market while enjoying the ambiance and splendor of Kauai.
At the start of the project, New Deal Hospitality (the bay-area hospitality consulting firm that Joseph has worked with in the past) happened to be working on the opening operations for the client, Living Foods. Looking for a photographer to showcase a holistic representation of the restaurant — its food, culture, and the spirit of the place — Joseph was commissioned for the project based on some previous work he had done for restaurants like The Harbor House Inn in Northern California.
In a lot of ways the client was a dream to work with, they were looking for my vision and creativity and were relatively hands-off with the creative process.
Living Foods is located in the town of Poipu on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The project was structured into three shoot days, with each day split between shooting at the restaurant itself and on excursions around the island. Luckily for Joseph, this included the quintessential Hawaiian experience of getting out on the water and riding a jeep around town. While exploring his surroundings, Joseph had the opportunity to capture aerial photos of the Central Pacific island, nicknamed the “Garden Isle” thanks to the tropical rainforest that covers its surface.
It’s rare that I get to add landscape and aerial shots of such a beautiful place to my food photography.
Designed to serve tourists and local residents alike, Living Foods is a community where guests can easily find reliable products for themselves and their families. Featuring a vibrant selection of ready-made to-go items, as well as curated essentials for weekly grocery needs, Living Foods invites its patrons to enjoy high-quality ingredients sourced directly from local farmers, ranchers, and artisans.
On opening day, Joseph witnessed the customary celebration of a Kahuna blessing of the new market. There are traditional blessings in Hawaii, including blessings for birth, blessings for homes, and blessings for new business ventures. A kahuna, a traditional Hawaiian priest, presides over the many different important ceremonies in Hawaiian culture. All of these blessings involve adding a positive spiritual element to the occasion or place. During most of these blessings, presenting a lei, or wearing one to the occasion, is a part of the tradition.
Culling through the images post-shoot posed a challenge for Joseph; with such a breadth of content he ended up with a huge quantity of pictures. As there is so much to do, see, and eat in Hawaii, Joseph found himself continually inspired throughout the assignment.
Through his images, Joseph highlights the range of quality food options, the beauty of the surrounding natural landscape, and the soul of the island. Connecting his passion for food with a career as a photographer, Joseph continues to document the journey from farm to table.