photo © Renée Comet

Commercial food photographer Renée Comet has been zipping around kitchens for decades. She has engineered methods for shooting edibles so the effect on viewers is a growling stomach. Based in Washington, D.C., Renée started her career shooting print ads for clients and cookbooks for Time-Life Books with 4×5 view cameras and has mostly stayed with food themes ever since. With shoots for tabletop, packaging, motion, restaurants, and local chefs, she is always juggling oranges; I guess with a name like Comet, you’re bound to be active.

On top of being busy with clients, including Food Network, Marriott International, Total Wine and the US Postal Service, she produces a specialty line of photo-printed aprons and tea towels for her company, Comet Cloth. Her venture has been steadily building business since she first started experimenting with the process in 2012. Sales have also been boosted by a nice mention last month in the food section of the New York Times. I am so glad I could catch up with Renée for a shot of APA inspiration.

What gave you the idea for Comet Cloth? Did you know what you wanted to achieve right out of the gate?

I was on vacation, and — as many ideas do — the thought of printing my images on fabric came to me while I wasn’t preoccupied in the trenches of day-to-day work. I knew that I wanted to create a piece of art that was useful and tactile, sort of like a well-loved cookbook with stains from use. I’ve always believed that food is the fabric that connects us and this was a way to bring that concept to life.

I imagine printing on textiles must have involved some trial-and-error.

Yes, I originally wanted to print on linen because I like shooting linen napkins. Their texture is soft and the fabric makes beautiful folds. However, I soon realized that linen is not absorbent and the images were fading after washing, so that wasn’t going to work. Cotton proved to be a much better solution and after testing several blends, I settled on using one-hundred percent US-made 7-ounce duck cotton.

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