It was love on first click, when I had the initial chance to use a digital camera back in 2003. Right after the first photographic stroll through Frankfurt I realized that this would be my medium.

2006, just having successfully concluded my university courses in publishing studies, political sciences and ethnology, I saved some money for my big dream: a half-year journey through India with the camera and the goal of making a book out of it. In hindsight, it might seem unwise not to have looked for a regular job as a thirty-something after ten years of studies. After all, I hadn’t sold a single photo at that time, had no publisher for this project. But I had to do it and luckily it worked out – not as planned, as the book about India is still unpublished. However, several people began to take note of me and I got the chance of shooting photos for magazines, events and caterers. Without my year-long experience in event catering, the latter would not have been possible.

At the time, I had seen my ten years at Kofler & Kompanie – a leading German event catering company – as wasted, as this work had nothing to do with my studies. But in the end it was this background that opened up the way to food photography. Not only through the contacts but also in learning how to arrange food and getting to know the work-flow in a high-class culinary surrounding.

Food photography is unlike any other genre within the media business. A well-arranged dish is a temporary artwork that can be preserved for eternity via photography. My idea of an ideal work-flow comprises a play around forms, colors and light; a teamwork that relies on thinking outside the box, in which both cook and photographer are in a constant dialogue to achieve an optimal result. A growing number of cookbooks, some of which have won several awards, are tributes to my successful work. Among the awards are three GAD gold medals as well as two Gourmand Awards for best cookbook photography in Germany.

As an self-taught artist, the lack of a formal photographic training has been difficult at the beginning. On the other hand, it has helped me in developing my own visual language. For me, photography is more than a job, it is a life’s calling. I am happy and thankful that I can live my dream, making a living from a field that started out as a hobby.

Daniel Esswein

Food and cookbook photographer
in Frankfurt on the Main


+49 (0) 69 91318297
+49 (0) 152 54250642