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Subject: Julie Lee, photographer

How you know her: If you’re not already one of her nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram, you might have seen her composed-yet-casual food collages in the latest issue of Saveurthey were named one of the 100 best of things of the year.

Why we love her: While it’s no longer a secret that snapping pics directly overhead can seriously up your ‘gram game, Julie’s signature style isn’t a calculated move to get more likes; it evolved naturally from a desire to explore food as an art material, as well as to beautifully record the bounty of produce she buys every week at one of the many L.A. farmers markets she frequents.

How she got her start: After working as a financial analyst at a brokerage firm, she sought a creative outlet and started the food blog, Julie’s Kitchen. There was just one problem—she didn’t know how to use a camera. “I didn’t know anything about photography. I had a point-and-shoot camera that took the worst pictures,” she told us. After a few lessons from her boyfriend and a deep dive into Photoshop, she upgraded to a Canon SLR and started shooting her farmers market finds.

How she gets the shot: After her marketing, Julie spreads her haul out on her dining room table and arranges the various fruits, vegetables, and herbs (as well as the occasional piece of fish) into a pattern lit naturally by California sunshine so abundant it requires no special lighting setup. (The recipes she makes from her ingredients are also well-documented on her blog.)

She doesn’t explicitly shop for what she thinks will photograph well. “What looks good at the farmers market usually also makes an interesting collage,” she says. Instead, she tries to shop for new recipes that push her culinary comfort zone. If there’s a food she or someone she’s cooking for doesn’t like, she blames the preparation, not the food itself, and institutes the three-strike rule (if she still doesn’t like something after trying three different recipes, she concedes).

New foods she’s discovered: She says she finds new items to try each week. Recent favorites include edible flowers, Peruvian mint (“It doesn’t look or smell like mint at all”), and Mexicola, or Stuart avocados, which have an edible, anise-flavored skin. You can buy prints of collages made with those avocados, as well as an array of other produce, on her online shop.

Up next: We’d be interested in seeing a collage of some of Julie’s favorite foods, which include shitake mushrooms, a MOLD house favorite. Hint, hint, Julie.