Bill Owens made his mark on the art world in the 1970s with “Suburbia,” a collection of photographs that documented suburban life in Livermore, California. After giving up photography in the 1980s, Owens turned to teaching as well as a variety of odd jobs and business enterprises to make ends meet. He even sold his cameras to raise some extra money.

Hot Dog or Sausage with Mustard…Party Food

When he discovered that his new digital cameras could also be used to make short videos, Owens began exploring the possibilities of motion pictures, and he returned to a subject that was conspicuous in his earlier series in the 1970s — food. BAB recently caught up with him to ask a few questions:

What type of cameras have you been using lately?
I am using a Sony digital camera and an Sony HDV Handicam digital film camera.

What tips do you have for shooting food?
My style is untouched. I do not use a stylist, but I photograph it as it appears on my plate and my friends’ plates.

What food item keeps you coming back for more?
I’ve been photographing large chunks of meat as I want to do a poster showing tri-tip, porter house, loin chops, pork loin roast, leg of lamb etc…

What is your favorite Bay Area restaurant?
Any taco cart in the Bay Area.

Carrots and Greens…Whole Foods

Be sure to catch SPARK this week as we follow Owens to the Berkeley Bowl market, where he collects images for a photo essay and new book dedicated to what and how we eat.

Eggs and Biscuits…Breakfast, San Antonio, TX

View the SPARK video segment on Bill Owens.

Pig Ears…Basket of Pig Ears

Hamburger…Dairy Queen

SPARK, KQED’s weekly series on the Bay Area’s art scene, airs every Wednesday at 7:30pm, Fridays at 11pm and Sunday at 11:30pm.

posted by Marie K. Lee

SPARK: Bill Owens – Food Photography 25 August,2006Wendy Goodfriend

  • tleam

    To Bill Owens – Food Photography
    Loved the show on Saturday August 26, 2006. I live in Castro Valley. Please contact


Wendy Goodfriend

I am the Senior Interactive Producer for KQED Food. I have designed and produced food-related websites and blogs for KQED including Bay Area Bites; Check, Please! Bay Area;  Taste This; Jacques Pepin’s websites; Weir Cooking in the City and KQED Food. When I am not creating and managing food websites I am taking photos and video of Bay Area Life and designing online navigation systems. My professional education and training includes: clinical psychology, photography, commercial cooking, web design, information architecture and UX. You can find me engaged in social media on Twitter @bayareabites and on Facebook at Bay Area Bites. I can also be found photoblogging at look2remember.

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