Bon Appétit December 2014: Shortbread Cookies

Bon Appetit, December 2014 (photo courtesy of Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott)

Michael Graydon: There are some very good people that we share the credit for this Bon Appétit work.

Nikole Herriott: Food stylists.

Michael Graydon: Alex Grossman, the creative director. Alex Pollack, the photo editor. They’re extraordinarily talented people.

Nikole Herriott: And they hire talented people. If a person can make a cookie that looks like this, it’s as much the person who made that cookie, the creative direction who decided they wanted a cookie with petals on it, as it is us putting a cookie on a piece of parchment and taking a picture.

Michael Graydon: Annie Leibovitz once said that the cover is often the most uninteresting photo of the spread because it needs to be cover. It needs to be simple, iconic.

Nikole Herriott: They often do a Christmas cookie story for their December issue. Most times, when you shoot a cover for Bon Appétit, a day is set aside just to shoot the cover and to explore a number of different ideas.

Michael Graydon: We had lots of different versions of these cookies, with different patterns and what not. In this case, it didn’t just get thrown down. We were moving these cookies ever so slightly so that something just popped. You’d be surprised to see the versions of this that didn’t make the cover.

Nikole Herriott: Silver cookies, black cookies, a mixture of different colours and backgrounds.

Michael Graydon: Eventually, you key in on something. It’s not necessarily the last picture you took. Sometimes you go past the best one. In this case, we knew this was the one.

Nikole Herriott: This was a lot harder than it looks.

Michael Graydon: It’s September when you shoot the December cover and you’re supposed to be thinking winter thoughts. It has to be cool tones. It can’t be flowers and petals on a cookie. But Nikole was obsessed with this cookie. So while there were discussions going on in the kitchen, she said to me, “Just put these cookies down and we’ll take a quick picture.” She put three or four down and this was the one that made the cover. That’s Nikole’s cover. And when they showed their cover choice to us in November, she was like–

Nikole Herriott: –I knew it!

Michael Graydon: This is Nikole doing what she does best.

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