Photo: Kyle Myles
Photo: Kyle Myles

Catching Up With Food Photographer Farrah Skeiky

Farrah Skeiky is a name that’s popping up everywhere in the city. The Bloomingdale-based food photographer and founder of Dim Sum Media supports some of the city’s trendiest new spots – ANXO, Bad Saint, Cotton & Reed, Haikan and Bantam King among them – and was one of the driving forces behind inauguration weekend’s All in Service fundraising event. She also shoots punk shows, collects records and is a self-described fangirl of all things food, from seasonal produce obsessions to hot sauce ranking lists. We were lucky enough to use Skeiky’s image of Bad Saint’s kinilaw na hipon (basically a Filipino shrimp ceviche with passion fruit) on our cover this month, and took a few minutes to catch up with the talented photographer about what makes her tick.

On Tap: Why food photography?
Farrah Skeiky: I began as a music photographer, but I’ve always cared about connecting stories to food. My favorite dishes are those I’ve shared with people who have taught me something about themselves, and about myself. It didn’t take very long for me to bridge these two interests. Taking “food porn” photos is fun, but I’m more interested in taking photos that connect the human element and reveal part of the story.

OT: Name your go-to comfort food or bev during the winter months. Best place to get it in the city?
FS: My mother makes shorabit ‘adas majroush, which is Lebanese mashed lentil soup. It’s a simple but hearty vegan recipe that I crave on rainy days. I’m also willing to drive to Eden Center [a Vietnamese restaurant strip in Falls Church, Va.] at the drop of a hat for pho, or Pho Viet if you’re staying in DC. And any time there’s arroz caldo at Bad Saint, I’m there. Filipino food was my first food love.

OT: You’re also a music photographer. What kind of shows do you like to bring your camera to?
FS: Mostly punk shows. DC’s punk scene is alive and well. It has its own identity, independent of the 80s and 90s scene. I prefer basement shows to ones at larger venues, because I prefer to take photos with little to no division between the band and the crowd.

OT: And when you’re not taking photos, you’re playing the guitar. What kind? Do you ever perform?
FS: I’ve been playing upright bass since age 10, and bass guitar since age 12. I haven’t performed in years, but hopefully that will change soon.

OT: You also collect records. Name a few you’ve picked up recently.
FS: Solange’s A Seat at the Table, a great 7” from Spain’s Suicidas called Baile de Máscsaras and DC’s own Give just released their Electric Flower Cult 12”.

OT: Tell me a little bit about Contrario Collective. Where can we check out your photos?
FS: We’re an all-woman photography collective comprised of photographers with very different styles and subject matter. One of our members recently moved to Burma, so we’ve gone international. You can find photos at www.contrariocollective.com.

OT: All in all, I’d say you have a pretty rad life. What are you loving most about your life right now?
FS: I’m lucky enough to work with people I like as people, and I get to spend a lot of time working with all kinds of women, each with their own talents, backgrounds and strengths. All of these women are smarter than me in different ways, which means I’m constantly challenged to think differently and work differently.

Learn more about Skeiky and Dim Sum Media at www.dimsum.media, and follow her at @dimsumdc.