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  • Writer's pictureMarissa Bialecki

Photo and Food Session with Kristina Hopper (Part 1)

Updated: Dec 24, 2018

If you've been reading my posts over at We Love DC, you know that my main column is the Capital Chefs feature. I love getting to know interesting people who are passionate about what they do. So the following is kind of a Capital Photogs profile of Kristina Hopper, a photographer I recently met through my friend, Jennifer. For months I eyed Jennifer's headshots with a little envy because the photoshoots looked like so much fun and because Kristina was clearly a pro with lighting. So when the opportunity came to cook for her and to do a little photoshoot, I was thrilled.

I can't rave enough about her work, so I'll let the photos speak for themselves in tomorrow's post. Below you'll find an interview I did with Kristina, along with one of her favorite recipes for Earl Grey Shortbread cookies. If you're interested in working with her, you can contact her at:

Marissa: What is your favorite thing to photograph? Kristina: People. An expression or an action captures a tiny story about who that person is what makes them tick. A good photograph lets you into their world just enough to make you want to know more. I have a lot of fun photographing children because they are the easiest to make comfortable in front of the camera. They act like themselves, not knowing who will see the photos and not caring what other people will think of them.

M: How long have you been doing photography and how long have you had your photography business? K: I've been taking photos ever since my father put a 35mm in my hands when I was a teenager. I started developing it into a business about six years ago and officially began marketing my services two years ago. Building the business is more time consuming than I ever would have imagined but as a "creator" at heart I love every minute of it.

M: What made you want to start doing photography? K: I see beauty everywhere. In people, places, things... Photography, to me, is the science and art of capturing that beauty in one precious moment of time - in a way that others can recognize it. What the eyes see and what the camera captures can be so different, and aligning them is a huge challenge, and that's what makes photography so fun.

M: Name the piece of photo equipment you just can't live without. K: A reflector. Only when you understand the nuances of your camera do you understand that the main ingredient of a photograph is light. Manipulating this one ingredient changes the entire recipe of the photograph! A reflector is essential to me in aiding the manipulation.

M: What's your favorite type of food to eat? Favorite restaurant in the city? K: I love almost all Italian meals but I'm also a sucker for anything spicy, snack food, Indian flavors and pho. You can describe my taste as eclectic.

Currently I'm digging Chef Geoff's for the food. I've had their beignets, parmesan-truffle popcorn and margarita pizza on different visits and wonder if they put some sort of drug in their dishes because they're the best I've ever had. Recently I also made a second visit to the Fish Market in Old Town and everything about the evening was spectacular. Meaty crab legs, stellar friendly service and upbeat atmosphere. Will be making it a regular hang-out for sure.

M: Do you have a recipe you'd like to share? K: Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies - my favorite dessert to bake, and they make great gifts. They taste almost lemony so they're wonderful for spring!

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Claire Robinson

Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

Instructions: 1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is just spotted throughout the flour.

2. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and butter.

3. Pulse together just until a dough is formed.

3. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll into a log, about 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Tightly twist each end of wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

5. Slice the log into 1/3-inch thick disks. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart (2 probably needed depending on size of sheets).

6. Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes.

7. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks and cool to room temperature.



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