From beautiful food to unforgettable scenery, professional photographer Elizabeth Cecil captures the good life on Martha’s Vineyard.
By Heather Marcus
Jun 09 2022
Truck & Surfboard, Squibnocket Beach, Chilmark.Photo Credit : Elizabeth Cecil
It seems Elizabeth Cecil has never been far from big water. She grew up in Milwaukee, on the shores of Lake Michigan; attended college in Newport, Rhode Island; and studied at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport. Oh, and she lives on Martha’s Vineyard, where she is surrounded daily by beautiful ocean light and landscapes. Though she often travels to shoot for clients such as Bon Appétit and Coastal Living, she finds plenty of work closer to home, too, shooting for local businesses such as the Grey Barn and Farm, the Harbor View Hotel, and the restaurant Beach Road.
Recently, Yankee caught up with Cecil for a quick Q&A.
What’s your connection to New England?
I came to New York City every summer from eighth grade through high school to work at a Montessori summer camp, and I fell in love with the East Coast. I set my mind on going to college in New England and never looked back. I went to school in both Rhode Island and Maine, concentrating on photography, and eventually settled on Martha’s Vineyard. The island immediately felt like home.
What photography equipment do you use?
I photograph with both film and digital cameras. I use a Canon 5D Mark IV for my editorial and commercial work and have a wide variety of lenses. The 50mm, 24-70mm, 100mm macro, and 70–200mm are my go-to lenses. … I travel light if I am working on a piece where I need to be on the move, and I bring a bit more gear for a food or cookbook shoot. I use Profoto lighting equipment and a Manfrotto tripod.
My film camera is a Hasselblad 503CW, which I mainly use for personal, fine art work. I do bring it with me on some editorial jobs in the event that I want to make a special portrait or I see something that lends itself to being captured on film. I have an 80mm lens and have stuck with this as my main medium-format setup for 15 years. I started my career in the darkroom so I have an affinity for working with film—it slows me down a bit, the quality is spectacular, and I love shooting in a square format. I use Kodak Portra 160 film for its beautiful color and smooth grain.
What inspires you?
Light, color, and natural surroundings. This holds true whether I am shooting food, lifestyle, or travel. I aim to capture visual authenticity and poetry in everything I photograph. I am inspired by other creatives and love collaborating with visual directors and food and prop stylists. When you work with a team, everyone brings their unique sensibility to the table, which always elevates the work. The individuals I meet through my work are an inspiration. I feel honored to work so many incredible people, to hear their stories and relay their personalities and passions through my pictures. I am drawn to beautiful desserts, fun painted nails, the perfect wave, and a gray, foggy New England day when there is just enough light to illuminate the sea and the sky.
To see more of Elizabeth Cecil’s work, go to elizabethcecil.com.
This post was first published in 2019 and has been updated.