Chef Rob Uyemura

Backyard Grilling with Rob Uyemura

Another of the fun assignments I got to shoot last month was a quick portrait of Rob Uyemura for Sauce Magazine. Rob is the executive chef at Yia Yia’s Eurobistro in Chesterfield. Rob reviewed several cookbooks about fresh-from-the-soil produce and the creative brief was for a portait of him cooking out of one of the cookbooks. According to Rob his kitchen wasn’t photo-ready, so I ended up shooting him in his backyard grilling up some lovely ribs and some really delicious looking produce that he’d just picked from his garden.

I love living downtown but I would kill for a garden. Growing up in PA, I always had access to fresh vegetables and fruits straight from my dad’s garden – nothing tastes quite like fresh picked corn, tomatoes and onions. Maybe I can talk my building into letting me put a garden on the roof deck that no one uses …

City Seeds St. Louis

I went out for a walk one evening, ostensibly to explore the neighborhood and work on some urban decay photography. In Saint Louis, there is certainly enough urban decay to go around. I’m still a new resident, so I wasn’t sure exactly where to go first. My inclination was to head north, where the abandoned warehouses start appearing a few blocks off of the newly gentrified Washington Avenue. However, to be honest, after a few conversations over the weekend about crime, I haven’t worked up the courage to go to far off the beaten path with my equipment by myself. So I headed west along Pine, intending to spend some time taking pictures of the dozens upon dozens of unused parking meters all over the city.

Next to the highway on-ramp, squeezed in next to a hotel in one of the many empty lots in the area I stumbled across City Seeds, a St. Louis non-profit project with the goal of increasing “food security in St. Louis” by providing “mentorship, supervision, and training twice a week.”

It certainly is an interesting project, there in the middle of the urban landscape, and given the number of signs warning people not to steal food, I was a little concerned about being chased off. To be honest tough, there wasn’t a lot of ready to eat food, so either it had already been stolen, legitimately harvested, or the garden wasn’t really producing much. Looked like there were a lot of leeks and potatoes approaching maturity, so maybe all of the earlier veggies had already been picked.

I was able to spend some time photographing the site and it was a really neat experience. I’m all about urban gardens – if I had some grass or a green roof I would certainly have one. Makes a lot of sense both environmentally and economically. Really cool to see that sort of thing locally here in St. Louis. Below are some of the images from my excursion of City Seeds as well as the surrounding area.