3/14/2013 10:15:00 AM

A Day in the Life: Jody Horton, Food Photographer

Admiring that artful photo of Austin food? Chances are you’re looking at Jody Horton’s work. The longtime professional photographer and former documentary filmmaker works with national publications like Travel and Leisure and Esquire as well as local favorites like Tribeza and Texas Monthly. Most recently he collaborated with Dai Due chef Jesse Griffiths on Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish. Here is how Horton’s day went on Wednesday, Feb. 13.


5:00 Hit snooze button on iPhone. This is a typical morning start time, but I've had a series of long days so I justify resetting alarm for 6:15.

6:30 - 8:00 Up and showered. About to go to studio, but my four-year-old is up early and wanders into kitchen. He wants to watch a Little Prince episode and is impossibly cute, so I say yes. Winter greens are taking over the refrigerator and there are more in the garden so I make a typical breakfast of sautéed collards, a fried egg and some bits of cured pork - and coffee. Eat this while watching two Little Prince episodes. 

8:00 - 2:00 Everything happens at once at the studio. Email, including follow-ups to editors and art buyers who were here for the Texas Photo Roundup the previous weekend, my assistant and studio manager arrive at 9:00, start fixing stuff and being awesome. Props are resorted, an upcoming trip to California is scheduled. I deliver some photos, send out a few estimates. The first edit of a local chef piece for Food & Wine that we shot two days before is due. I'll just be able to get it out before I have to leave town at 2:00. 

Deliveries are arriving, there is construction in the front yard, a cleaning person is here. We learn that an Austin Bon Appetit article I shot a few months ago is finally out: Hooray! I skip lunch in favor of coffee as usual.    

2:00 - 4:30 Drive to Bandera, Texas, for a Southern Living shoot. Traffic is terrible north of San Antonio. I'm going to be late, call ahead and learn that the horses we need for a shot are off at a rodeo somewhere. After more calls and some wrangling, horses are found and scheduled for 6. 

4:30 - 7:30 Photograph locals at the 11th St. Bar in Bandera. Its a colorful place with lots of bras and stuffed animal heads hanging from the walls and ceiling. I have a Shiner. I learn that its steak night and that its BYOS and am pointed to a butcher shop a few blocks away, where I get the smallest cut they have. Its a one-pound New York strip.

I photograph the horses in front of the bar, some dancing, guys in cowboy hats grilling steaks on large round grills in the back.

When I'm done I throw my own steak on and buy a "fixin's" plate for $6 - potato, iceberg salad with ranch. Glad to have a good pocket knife to cut it. I have a whatever red wine they have and drink it straight out of the tiny bottle. Its delicious. 

7:30-9:30 Drive back home.

9:30 - 10:30 Catch up with wife on the day, take shower, set alarm for 5 AM and get in bed.  

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