The last two weeks have seen me busier than I’ve ever been in a long time. From a weekend beach wedding shoot to re-designing my blog to a little potluck that we put together, I’ve barely had time to sleep, let alone write.

While the never-ending activities have left me with a deficit of words, what I do have is a surplus of photos. And I’d really love to show you some photos from the wedding but that’ll come later. The bride gets first dibs on seeing the shots.

Instead, I’m going to show you photos of that wee little event we organized: the Big Summer Potluck. The wonderful Anderson family of Three Many Cooks graciously welcomed everyone to their beautiful home for this event. I am told that I spoke a bit about photography, and that I might have even made a little sense. My mom was in attendance, bless her, and although I figured it was for moral support, something tells me that she was there to block all exits in case I decided to make a run for it.

As I was photographing this event, I approached it much like I approach shooting a wedding. Which is to make sure I take lots of shots, try to get photos of every single person in attendance, and most importantly, don’t forget the details.

Big Summer Potluck

These were Abby Dodge’s incredible 4-ingredient dessert. Alice and I polished off one of these while no one else was looking. No, I am not name-dropping. Kinda.

Big Summer Potluck

We had wonderful wine from Louis Latour for our cocktail hour. They’re family-owned and have been around for over 200 years. That’s 11 generations. Less than fifty families in the world can lay claim to that.

Big Summer Potluck

And of course, there was lots of good food. Incredible concoctions that weren’t just beautiful to look at but were so delicious they elicited groans from everyone.

Big Summer Potluck

From putting together the programme to designing matching name badges, we put a lot of work and thought into the details because we knew that details add up to a whole. And we wanted the whole to be as close to perfect as possible.

This is why it’s important to shoot the details when covering an event, whether it’s a wedding, a performance, or an unlikely gathering of food bloggers in rural Pennsylvania. Not only does it provide a different perspective and a more complete picture, but it also helps celebrate the effort that was put into making it happen.

And yet the whole that we ended up with was so much more, and no amount of meticulous planning could have guaranteed the kind of instant friendship, kinship, and community that we felt. No, all that was courtesy of the amazing mix of people who attended and the incredible giving and sharing spirit that embraced us all that day.

Big Summer Potluck

There were about 40 individual “details” that day, and together, we made one incredible whole.


(For more photos of the event, grab a drink and view the Big Summer Potluck slideshow.)


12 Responses to Details
  1. aMBER
    August 13, 2010 | 2:57 pm

    Erika – your last line is perfection. We DID make a perfect whole. So wonderful to meet you and your mom. I can’t wait to hang out again.

  2. Wenderly
    August 13, 2010 | 2:57 pm

    Love it! And once again, you have MAD SKILLZ with that camera girl! Thanks so much for all of your hard work. It was an incredible experience that I will cherish for a lifetime!

  3. JenniferA
    August 13, 2010 | 2:57 pm

    My favorite detail, seriously, was finally meeting you. And your mom was a bonus! :-)

    Your photos are beautiful as always.

    p.s. – our old buddy Scott Thomas says he’d be happy to help the next time you are asked to do a photography presentation! He works for food. ;-)

  4. Nancy @ The Sensitive Pantry
    August 13, 2010 | 3:04 pm

    Erika – thank you, thank you, thank you for…you & Maggy putting together “that little potluck”, for sharing your photography knowledge (even though you really wanted to bolt), for the lovely photos that will keep reminding me what a wonderful day it was, and for permission to take my husband’s DSLR out of the closet and use it (on auto for now). Thank you.

  5. Robyn
    August 13, 2010 | 3:05 pm

    You are just as lovely as your gorgeous photographs. I am so honored to have met you and learned even a smidgen of what you got going on in that head of yours! Super duper awesome great skills you’ve got there, girl!

    The entire event was beyond words. Y’all left us begging for more. When you end on a note like that, you know you’ve knocked it out of the park.

    Can’t wait to see ya again soon!


  6. Amy
    August 13, 2010 | 3:06 pm

    Beautiful as always Erika! Thanks so much for your time and talent for the big day. We had a great time and I can’t wait to meet up again next year!

  7. Tracy
    August 13, 2010 | 3:47 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you again for organizing such an amazing event. I feel so fortunate to have attended and to have met you! (And, I am very glad you were prevented from escaping so that I could learn more about photography from you.) :-)

  8. Alice
    August 13, 2010 | 6:12 pm

    You are an amazing and gifted friend. Thank you so much for all the long hours and work you put into this fantastic day. All those small little details did not go unnoticed. From the rounded colored text boxes to the fonts in the brochure, I noticed each detail and was blown away by them all. Your photography workshop was so helpful and on point. Already I’m putting into practice the tips you shared. Most of all, I’m so happy we finally met. You are such an incredible blessing to so many people… more than you realize. I hope we get to see each other again soon.


  9. Tickled Red
    August 13, 2010 | 6:14 pm

    You not only spoke but you did an amazing job with breaking down basic photography into layman terms. It was wonderful to meet your mom and I am thankful that she blocked the doors. As for the “whole” and the “details” all I can say is perfection. Thank you all so much for a unforgettable experience.

  10. Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon
    August 13, 2010 | 7:34 pm

    Erika, your photos give me something to aspire towards. And having had the chance to meet you in person, you as a person are as beautiful as your pictures.

    It’s not easy to please a group of people. But we all seem to have come away with a sense of empowerment, community, and connection.

    Thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us.

  11. Liam O'Malley
    August 17, 2010 | 11:15 am

    I was so sad to have been unable to attend this and I really really hope that you (the plural you, of course) are considering another event again sometime in the near future. It looks wonderful, from start to finish, and I really wish I had been able to be there.

  12. Souffle Bombay
    August 29, 2010 | 9:20 pm

    You captured the day perfectly and you pictures are just beautiful!
    I for one am glad your mom was there, not only is she cool and beautiful…but she did in fact block all routes of escape lol!

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about me

I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

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One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.