Arts • 14 Feb, 2017
INSTA ELITE @MINHKY.LE
Sydney Based Filmmaker Captures His (Food) Work-a-day
We know the food and drinks we see on the billboard can often promise a lot more than what we receive on the plate. McDonald’s anyone? Revealing the behind the scenes truths of the food industry is this month’s Insta Elite, 24-year-old Minhky Le, a Syndey-based filmmaker who earns his ‘crust’ working with and styling food. As his feed reveals, he’s well travelled, loves food and isn’t afraid to show us all the equipment it takes to make food look its absolute best! We’re not that jealous. Ok, maybe just a little.
Hi Minky! We love your feed. Tell us about what you do!
Thanks! I’m a filmmaker by profession working with Australian brands and personalities, mainly in the food & beverage scene. So far I’ve had the opportunity to work in Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, mainly in content creation. I also have a background in graphic design, photography, animation and illustration!
Phew! You sound busy. How would you define your aesthetic?
I’d define my aesthetic as punchy, detailed and tidy. I’m drawn towards the blue tones and love incorporating greys, whites and blacks. My photos definitely need that ‘pop’ factor so no light-onlight or dark-on-dark elements. Also I like playing with flat lays, silhouettes, wide angle shots and negative space.
How did you get into the habit of taking photos and posting them on Instagram?
I’ll be honest, in the beginning it was pretty difficult. My schedule and lifestyle simply did not permit me to go out and create content, nor was I motivated to. So instead I began photographing some behind-the-scenes shots of my work and documenting my travels on the go. That made it easy to make a habit out of; I was killing two birds with one iPhone. Eventually I was able to build up a huge archive of content for Instagram (mainly pictures of food because of the nature of my work!)
On the subject of food – since you are a food filmmaker – what are the perks and minuses of being surrounded by good-looking dishes all the time?
Isn’t it obvious? It’s eating. Eating too often is a good and bad thing. During or after a film shoot, the client will almost always invite me to eat. Did I mention I work with dessert a lot? Sometimes I feel like I really shouldn’t, but when you’re working with guys from Masterchef or world famous culinary masters, you just can’t help yourself.
Do you have any tips on how to create a good photo?
Always think about lighting and composition first. Then, if you can, go ahead and physically go tidy up the thing you’re going to photograph so you don’t have any distracting elements in the frame.
What makes a great Instagram feed in your opinion?
I feel the key is to keep the colours and content consistent throughout, and that each image be easy to recognize from a glance. Also, tell a story in your post. As human beings we’re hard wired to be immersed by a good story! (and maybe throw in a chocolate covered dessert of some sort in there somewhere from time to time… mmm)
How much planning do you have to do before posting?
I plan out most of my content a couple of days or a week ahead of schedule. I do this in order to maintain a visual consistency or story for my feed. Although whenever I can, I try to keep posting as organic and real time as possible.
What is the most memorable snapshot in your entire feed?
it would have to be the photo I took of my camera facing the Shinjuku crossing in Tokyo. I had always dreamed of being contacted to do work in Japan. I never thought it would happen so soon. The picture itself isn’t particularly good but it means a lot to me. I was so thrilled to be there that I probably ran through the crossings 20 – 30 times filming the entire thing.
How important is Instagram to your work?
I’ve always viewed Instagram as a way to show the behind the scene moments of my work… and there aren’t a lot of food filmmakers doing that. I’ve met amazing people through Instagram and that always feels incredible. Also I think it goes without saying that the platform helps me to build my online presence.
Which program(s) or apps do you usually use to edit your photos?
VSCO app all the way. I remember using their Lightroom presets before they had an app! Sometimes I’ll do some photo manipulation if I feel a photo can look better.
What are some of your favorite Instagram feeds to follow?
I mostly follow urban and travel photographers. Here are some of my top picks based on their style and how they compose their shots… I have a lot! @sashalevin, @dimikangaroo, @olymli, @_danieltran_, @alexmdc, @toddmartin, @jacob, @nikk_la, @edwardkb, @qcici, @hx1125, @lielaine, @wonguy974, @bryanadamc, @5.12, @nk7.
Thanks Minhky! Happy (food) Snapping!
Words by JA