Thursday, January 5, 2023

Interview with Seema Rose

 Happy New year everyone! I hope and pray that you all had a great start to 2023.

I am super excited to introduce one of my favorite food and lifestyle photographer, Seema Rose. I have always been fascinated by her style of uplifting storytelling using the right mood, light, textures and composition. Her pictures are magnificent that gives a different perspective each time I look at them. She brings out the magic of every food, makes it look mouth-watering and portray an amazing story at the same time. I have personally witnessed her growth over the past two years, and she has proven that photography is an art by itself. Her work is poetic and evokes abundance of life.

Let’s hear more from Seema as she shares her inspiration and journey as a photographer. Have a look at her brilliant work before you read the interview.

Autumn Tea

Zest Shot

Breakfast Scene

Moody Panettone

Mushroom Macro

·      A brief about yourself

Hi, my name is Seema Rose. I am a food & lifestyle photographer based in Dubai.


How did your journey as a photographer begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self-taught?

My food & creative journey is a long one but my photography started just 2 years ago. I have been in advertising for most of my life and thoroughly enjoyed the creative process. The part I did not enjoy was the corporate politics around it. In 2020, I lost a job I’d loved very much, which was a blow. It changed everything for me. After the initial shock, I gathered myself and thought hard about where I wanted to go from there. My family has been my rock and I wouldn’t have survived without their and my friends’ support. I love to cook & bake and started focusing on that more. I even started baking on order, but knew that I did not want to go commercial, as I just wanted to enjoy myself without any undue pressures. I started my Instagram page and, thanks to its infamous algorithm, started being served food photography- and that just blew my mind! I wanted my food to look that stunning. I spoke to my husband about it and he suggested I try using an old Canon DSLR. That’s how my food photography journey began. I started practising every day, but struggled to get the picture I had in my head. I had the fire, hunger & passion for photography, but just needed someone to guide me. This is when I came across Eva Kosmas Flores’ Photography+Styling+Branding course and that was a game changer for me. Around the same time, I came across Bea Lubas’ stunning work and was hooked! She inspires me every day!

Once I was confident about my style, my gear, and such, I wanted to expand my skills and learn to work with artificial lights. Who better to learn from than Joanie Simon! Her “Artificial Academy” course helped me immensely. Artificial lighting is especially useful with restaurant photography, which I currently do.

What started as a hobby is now a full-blown passion for me - a second birth almost. I create for myself all the time, now starting to do paid assignments and enjoying that too.


• How would you describe your style?

Over the course of my exploration into photography, I’ve attempted a vast array of styles, themes and motifs. That being said, the one I personally identify with the most is what I’d describe as dark and moody. I prefer dramatic, moody shots with pops of colour. I love the mystery around it. I never want to make my work seem depressing. I’ll always add elements to brighten the feel of the shot, trying to emphasize certain subjects and tell a story through my work and editing. Though this style speaks to me the most, I’m constantly experimenting with new concepts and composition techniques. I find it so much fun to play around with the camera and how I set up my shots. I feel that doing so has helped me better my capabilities and made me fall deeper in love with photography and just how vast and creatively diverse it can be!

Flaming Whiskey

• What's your inspiration?

Inspiration & beauty is all around us - we just need to keep an open mind and really “see” it. Nature is a big inspiration for me - the colours of leaves & flowers, the way sunlight interacts with things, the natural framing by trees - it’s all so fascinating. I love drawing inspiration from seasons, though living in Dubai has its own challenges with that. Along with that, I observe a few select photographers’ work and journey closely. It’s interesting to imagine the thinking behind their work, which is something I try to learn from and integrate into my process. Besides food photographers, I am very much influenced by lifestyle & interior design photographers. There’s so much to learn about the use of colours, light and styling!

Another thing I love to do is attend workshops & creative retreats. It is extremely soul satisfying in my opinion. You get to meet like-minded people, from whom you can learn so much.

• What is the most challenging aspect about your work?

Creativity is enriching, empowering & immensely satisfying. At the same time, it can be exhausting, demanding and unpredictable. Sometimes, it’s so difficult to bring your vision to life and that is frustrating! But once you overcome that mental barrier, it is the most rewarding feeling. As Bea Lubas says “Creativity is a muscle and we need to exercise it”, but overdoing it can lead to adverse effects.


• What is your creative process like? and what keeps you motivated?

My mind is always on the lookout for new subjects and ideas that I can play with. Sometimes I get an idea very late at night, or when I am in the shower! I make it a point to jot down my thoughts before I forget. My process kicks into gear as I bring that idea to life, clarifying all the details of what I hope to achieve with this. I begin thinking about what emotions I want to portray and what story I want to tell the viewer. I usually go on to think of the colours I want to use, because colors play a big role in conveying the story. I then think of the food I want to show, where shapes, textures, colours come into play. Then, I focus on the angle of the shot, which helps me determine what kind of light I want to use. Sometimes, I have more than one angle in mind and could use both side light & backlight. This all leads me to visualise the overall scene, with details like composition, styling, use of props, etc. The magic is later amplified when it comes down to the editing. This is pretty much the breakdown of my creative process.

Motivation comes from passion, and that is something that comes from within. How much are we willing to invest in nurturing our soul, is a question that only we ourselves can answer. Sure, there are a lot of peripheral factors that also determine how motivated we are, but for the most part, this is something that we have to draw from within.


• Is there a capture that holds a special place for you? and why?

This is a tough one. It’s the proverbial “choosing your favourite child” dilemma. Every one of my images has a story behind it and each one is special to me. But I do feel that my images in which I have featured my daughter are extra special - she adds something magical to my images.

• Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring photographers who want to pursue a similar Career.

When I started out, all I had was a burning desire to create, but did not know how to do it. So I kept observing, absorbing, learning & practicing with great passion. I was focused on my own development and never felt intimidated by anyone else’s work. It was a joy to admire the beautiful work of other creators. It is so important to not be overwhelmed by the progress of others but to learn from them. We don't know what hardships they have gone through to get to where they are. Everyone’s journey is different & unique. Imposter syndrome is real and so prevalent, fuelled by Instagram’s lure for greater numbers of likes & followers! It can destroy creativity and I urge everyone to stay focused on their own journeys and organic growths. Look at your own feed and see how far you have come. Pat yourself on the back for all the sacrifices you have made and the hard work you put in to come this far. Learning must never stop and progression is the only way forward, but that does not mean you feel ashamed about your earlier work. If we had not created that, we wouldn’t have learned and improvised to come this far. Please DO NOT focus on likes & followers. Just create for yourself. When you focus all your energies into making your own work the best you have produced yet, the outcome has got to be positive. Nothing gives me more joy than creating for myself and if you feel the same, I assure you, people will sit up and applaud your work. 

Thank you so much Seema, for sharing your journey in photography and giving us a fresh perspective about food photography. Wishing you all the best and we look forward to seeing more of your amazing work!

Please click here to get updates on her work through Instagram and click here to have a look at her website.

All the above images are copyrighted by Seema Rose

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Tea Time with Claudia Silva

Today I would like to feature Claudia Silva, a food photographer, food stylist and a recipe developer based in Portugal whose work speaks volumes. Her work feels like a direct reflection of who she is as person. Besides great composition and amazing recipes published in her blog, there is a sense of stillness, peaceful, intimate, simplicity and honesty in all her beautiful pictures.

In today’s interview, she shares her styling philosophy as well as her inspiration. Please have a look at her amazing pictures and read more about her work.

 A brief about yourself

My name is Claudia, I am a food photographer, food stylist and storyteller living in Porto, Portugal. I find always hard to tell more about myself in words, in fact knowing more about who I am is something I am trying to discovery in my daily life, I feel very simple, but full of questions and the desire to find my way of being, keep a thought of growth, self-questioning, a desire to know more about the ones surrounding me, learning how to grow in a responsible and kind way.


How did your journey as a photographer begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self-taught?

My journey as a photographer is relatively recent. In December 2019 I created the blog Caminho Integral, I really wanted to share my adventures and culinary recipes, I like to try new flavors, get to know and feel other cultures through food and the blog, and later the entry on Instagram, allowed me to get in touch with a wonderfully new community.

And that's how the interest in food photography came about, a way to express emotions, to share not just recipes, but feelings and states of mind, actually to convey a message, to touch people and be touched by them.



How would you describe your style?

Definitely I include myself in dark and moody photography, but I also love outdoor photography or just playing with shadows and hard light. When I started I was very minimalist, but with time, I realized I needed more elements to tell my story, it felt right this way. I also have a very rustic side, playing with browns and wood really makes me feel comfortable. Other technical aspects that I really enjoy are action shots and including the human element in my photos, but I can also say that I am a storyteller.


What's your inspiration?

Food, nature, people, feelings. I can describe my inspiration with these words. For me, photographs tell stories, convey feelings, and touch people. My family is also a kind source of inspiration for me; they touch my soul, my heart, the simplicity of everyday moments, knowing how to transmit love, not with words, but with simple gestures.


What is the most challenging aspect about your work?

Mindset. Your way of dealing with the world is such an important thing in any job or relationship; I have to pay attention to it every day. I find it difficult to believe in myself, I try to learn from others without comparing myself, and I am alert when thoughts of exaggerated self-criticism arise. From a more technical point of view, in food photography, I have some difficulties in applying composition and color theory techniques, namely in using color to make the Instagram feed more consistent and appealing.


What is your creative process like? And what keeps you motivated?

I try to question which theme tells me something more profoundly, without a doubt the light in photography and the inspiration / my way of telling the story are the starting point. Then I go to a mood board. Here I put the feelings, food, colors, and mood that best tell the story. Then I think about the number and angle of the photos, as well as the props. I often use my own photos as a starting point and when shooting I let my intuition and what I feel guide me.


Is there a capture that holds a special place for you? And why?

Luckily I can say that the vast majority of photos have a very special place for me, but those in which I photographed my family are accompanied by such affection, sharing and warmth. When they serve as models, whether full body, like my grandmother and mother, or hand models, like my sister and father, we are together in that moment, dedicated and present, in a simplicity that is difficult to describe.


Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring photographers who want to pursue a similar career.

The humble knowledge of ourselves is a precious starting point, setting goals based on concrete points that support our dream. After knowing what we really want, it is important to understand how we are going to achieve it, planning is important, namely not to hesitate to invest in ourselves. And here I could not fail to mention learning, whether in tutorials, books, courses or workshops. Learning from others is so enriching, it opens our horizons and helps us grow as people and professionals.


Thank you dear Claudia, for sharing your journey with us and for sharing some amazing tips for us to follow. Wishing you all the best for your amazing and we look forward to seeing more of your fabulous work!

Please click here to get updates on her work on Instagram and click here to have a look at her website.

All the above images are copyrighted by Claudia Silva

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Recipe time: Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

Chocolate and banana, is there anything better than this heavenly combo??

Chocolate Banana Cake appeals to most people I know and this is a recipe I make frequently because it always disappears quickly! It is simple to make and my favourite way to use up overripe bananas so they never go waste! (makes me feel heroic!).  The melted butter along with ripe bananas makes the crumbs super moist and melt-in-the-mouth feel. This recipe doesn’t require a mixer, an easy one bowl recipe, good for your health, makes a great go-to breakfast or snack and doesn’t require a frosting!

I am sure you will enjoy making this recipe because it has all its goodness and super quick to make! Let me know if you do try!

• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup cocoa powder
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 to 3 bananas (more ripe the better!)
• 3 tablespoons sour cream
• 1 tablespoon milk 
• 2 eggs
• 6 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup chocolate chips

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 C), grease and line a loaf pan.
• Whisk all the dry ingredients- flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
• Mash the bananas in a smaller bowl, and stir together with the sour cream, milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
• Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl, add chocolate chips and fold together just until combined.
• Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

• Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, and then remove it to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.  

Above pictures are copyrighted Tickled by Inspirations.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Artist of the month - Majid Al-Amri

Majid Al-Amri, a prominent abstract artist in the art circle is making waves with his beautiful work. I came across his amazing work across the art galleries here in Muscat. I loved the way he plays with the colours, lines and shapes and create images that I want to look at. I find his work playful, deeply personal and poetic through the brush strokes and colours he uses. The use of abstraction is his way to communicate his emotions and ideas about life and nature.

Have a look at his beautiful paintings and let’s hear more from Majid who talks about his art journey.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self-taught?

My name is Majid Al-Amri, a graduate from Sultan Qaboos University, specializing in Art education. My journey as an artist started from a young age. I learned art by myself and further studied art at the age of 18 at Sultan Qaboos University.

How would you describe your art style?

I describe my artistic style as different from the tendencies of the Omani society towards art… because I tend to abstract art… and I strive to reach an artistic style that suits me.

What's your inspiration for your art work?

The source of my inspiration in my artwork varies from time to time… but most of the time I derive from what I see around me.

What is the most challenging aspect about your work?

The most challenging aspect of my artwork is how I can express something through abstract art... and how to convey my feelings and ideas to the recipient through my work.

Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your paintings?

People can buy my paintings by contacting me through my Instagram account or through the art gallery if the painting is displayed in an exhibition.

What is your favorite art piece that you have done till date?

My favorite piece of art is called motherland

Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career.

My advice to everyone is to continue making paintings in their own style… ones’s unique style is what the audience is looking for.

Thank you so much Majid for sharing your inspiring journey with me and my readers and we look forward to seeing more of your work.


Click here to follow him on Instagram and get updates of his work.


Stay tuned for more artist inspirations in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Tea Time with Alaknanda Kumar

 Alakanda Kumar, a creative consultant by profession, is making a mark in the world of décor topped with her passion for photography. I have been following her work for a while. It is absolutely pure joy to see her work and experiment with colours, vignettes, creative ideas and vignette. If you follow her work you will also find her home so tastefully done up. Every corner in her home has a story to tell. Her aesthetic touch is what keeps her work unique and her eye for photography is an extension of all the beauty she sees around.

To know more about what drives Alakanda, please read the interview where she speaks about design, culture, interiors, textures and more

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

 When not satiating the shutterbug in me, I find myself juggling between my job as a creative consultant and chasing my preteen for homework. Born in a Konkani-Managlorian family, I spent a fair share of my childhood in Gujarat (which had a big influence on my hobby), before moving to Mumbai. Though a science graduate, I pursued my passion for arts and built a career in graphics and design.


2. Where do you get inspiration to do up your home?

 Growing up in Gujarat, the vibrant colours and rich textures that embodies its culture was etched into my mind. Having a strong fascination for bold and contemporary Indian art intrigued me to try my hands on it. And that's how painting became one of my hobbies. During my early years in 80s when there was no Pinterest, home interior TV shows and art and decor magazines served as the greatest source for an ultimate design. Today we have inspiration just a click away. 


3) What's your favorite décor style?

 I have always found myself trying to strike the right balance between Indian and contemporary styles. As much as I adore white and open spaces, I tend not lean towards minimalism or even maximalism. That said, I keep experimenting with different styles.

 4) What's your favorite décor element or accent in your home?

 It’s hard to zero-in on a single element. Candles and cushions are like wine and cheese; they complement each other so perfectly that you’d be hard-pressed to leave them out. Another element that I swoon over are mirrors. A perfectly placed mirror doesn’t just add glamour and pique interest, but accentuates a sense of space and maximizes light. Thanks to my penchant for pottery, I always find myself styling my space with earthy accents like vases and figurines.


5) Do you have a favorite corner or space in your home? And why is it your favorite?

 As much as we adore our home, we all have that corner where we could retreat to our little cocoon after an exhausting day. Mine is a space in the living room that is our reading nook. The beauty of this corner is that I could be lost in a book or in the tunes my son plays on his piano and not strays away from what’s happening around in the house.

6) Any tips or advice for décor lovers out there?

 - I believe that your home is a reflection of your personality, and if one starts understanding this, every nook and cranny of your home will brain out the artist in you.

 - Before discarding any old furniture or accent, think if it can be repurposed. An old, rickety wooden window could be an excellent wall piece (I tried that ;) )

 - If your place is too cluttered, one’s mind would be overwhelmed with all the elements, and hence, my advice would be to do less with more.

 Thank you so much for sharing your journey and sharing some amazing tips of home décor. Looking forward to seeing more inspiring work from you.

If you wish to see more of her work and get more updates, please click here to follow her on Instagram.

Stay tuned for more tea times stories!!

All the above pics are by Alaknanda Kumar

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Artist of the Month: Samantha Mathew


Samantha Mathew is a talented architect, based in the US, who rekindled her passion for art while decorating her home. She is a self- taught artist and she was born with creativity in her blood. Her paintings have a story to tell and reflect her interest in nature, landscape and everything vintage. I found her work aesthetic and appealing to look at. Her work draws your attention to the beautiful details and the gorgeous calming colours she uses. She sees the beauty of little details and adds to her work that exudes joy with a magical touch.  

Have a look at her beautiful paintings and let’s hear more from Samantha herself who talks about her journey and her inspiration

Be Still


Come & Dine With Me

Bright & Beautiful

Blooms of Hope

I'll be with you always

Dressed in Bloom

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Samantha, an architect by training and I live in Austin with my amazing husband, Jeff and two precious girls who are now 4 and almost 2. I’ve lived most of my life in Oman and some in India (I’m originally from Kerala) and been in the US since 2013.

How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self-taught?

I’ve always loved to sketch, paint and dabble in anything creative and am extremely passionate about design! I did not have any formal training as an artist, except for the standard art class in school. But those classes laid the foundation and taught me the basics in various sketching and painting techniques.  I used to also hold onto picture books with pretty illustrations in it, and would try and paint them when I had the time. I realised early on that God had blessed me with a creative gene as I received plenty of affirmation from my art teachers, friends and family. My art teacher was highly invested in anything I produced, displaying them in his room, around the school and at art exhibitions. But I only ever thought of art as a hobby. I went to architecture school, pursued my goals of becoming a licensed architect and hardly picked up a paint brush for anything unrelated to school or work for the next 10 years.

When Jeff and I moved into our first apartment, I was very excited to do some decorating and make it feel more like home. I started looking for some meaningful art for our stark lifeless walls. Not finding what we wanted in our budget, I decided to paint a few myself. And THAT rekindled the old lost passion once again! I did a couple for our own home, and then happily jumped at opportunities to do a few more for family and friends. They were positively thrilled. 

As the 2020 pandemic began, I chose to take a break from work to be fully available to my little ones. Though I've been blessed to have this opportunity to spend so much time with them, I began to feel drained and was in desperate need of a creative outlet - something to occupy myself with on a flexible schedule - and I found therapy behind the easel again. If I’m not painting, I’m either organizing or designing spaces.


How would you describe your art style?

This is a hard one. Honestly, I’m not very good at identifying different art styles but I do know that I am naturally more drawn to painting landscapes and objects in a realistic way toning down the colors to a soft, earthy palette. I love the rich character of vintage art and sometimes like to dye my paper or canvas to recreate that look, before I paint on it.


What's your inspiration for your art work?

Painting is therapeutic to my soul and draws me closer to God, the Creator of all things beautiful. I draw a lot of inspiration from nature- from tiny delicate flowers to a beautiful cloudy sky. I love being able to study and capture on paper in my imperfect way, glimpses of His perfect creation.  I also have a thing for old buildings, interesting doorways, arches, stone masonry, cobblestone streets and anything covered in blooms! I work primarily with acrylics, watercolours and charcoal, experimenting with light, shadow, fluidity and texture as I go.


What is the most challenging aspect about your work?

Since I get to take out my brushes only when the kids are asleep, I get just a few hours in a day to paint and I try to make the most of it. Acrylics dry very quickly, so I’m always trying new ways to keep them wet longer, so I don’t waste too much paint between painting sessions.

Making time to pursue creativity amidst the demands of motherhood gets challenging at times, but I just take it one day at a time.


What is your creative process like? and what keeps you motivated?

My head is always brimming with ideas for future paintings and collections and so I write these ideas down whenever I have an inspiring moment.  I usually listen to my favourite podcasts, music, or an audio bible and it keeps me focused, relaxed and inspired as I work. I am most productive and motivated in the early morning hours, when the whole house is sleeping and it’s just me and my canvas.


Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your paintings?

Yes  I do! I’m currently taking one commission a month and you can either DM me on Instagram or contact me at about it and I will be happy to bring your vision to life! As of now, I only ship to places within the US. 

I also sell my work on or do occasional sales on Instagram itself.


What is your favourite art piece that you have done till date?

Ah, another tough one! But if I had to pick, I would say that the “Come and Dine with Me” painting hanging in our living room is my favourite. It was the first painting I did, after 15 years and the first time I tried working with acrylics. 

I just love this scene of the risen Christ, appearing to His weary disciples who were out the entire night fishing, with no luck whatsoever and inviting them to a breakfast that He'd just prepared for them. I didn’t have a reference image for this piece and I just love how it all finally came together.


Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career.

I don’t consider myself the best person to give much advice here as my path is pretty unconventional for an aspiring professional artist. But as in any field, the only way to get better at something is with lots of practice! So make time to pursue creativity- if it is through sketching or painting, do a little everyday even if you don’t feel particularly inspired or stimulated. 

And most of all, believe in yourself and in your work!

Thank you so much Samantha for sharing your inspiring journey with me and my readers and we look forward to seeing more of your work.

Stay tuned for more artist inspirations in the coming weeks!