While searching for some new creative content for our daily reposts, we came across Kati Boden’s Instagram account. Her style of photography had us hooked immediately, especially her incredibly exquisite food creations drew our attention. She manages to create such atmospheric imagery by capturing the perfect moment and when you’re browsing through her feed, your mouth will water in the truest sense of the word. We wanted to find out more about Kati Boden and contacted the travel-enthusiastic German to get some more details about her exciting life in so many different cities. Furthermore, we wanted to get to know more about the person behind the camera and in our interview, she gives us a glimpse into her thrilling career, tells us why she already traveled a lot as a child and how she became a professional food photographer.
For starters, please introduce yourself and tell us more about you.
Thank you so much for this interview. My name is Kati, but I think I’m better known as @blackwhitevivid from my Instagram channel. Since the beginning of this year, I have been a full-time photographer – but my projects entail much more than the work of a photographer. I was born in Stralsund but have spent most of the time of my youth in Rostock at the Baltic Sea. After my A-levels, I went to university abroad – and the rest is history. During my studies, I lived in five different countries, did a Bachelor and two Master degrees in business studies and marketing and finally started my career at a big US-enterprise. Fortunately, fate had other plans which means that I got the travel bug after staying in Germany for three years and moved with my partner to Hong Kong. Right now, we are living in Dubai but have spent some years in Kairo and Istanbul before as well. During those times, I discovered my passion for photography and blogging but thought at no time that I would be doing this full-time. Next to photography orders, I share recipes and travel tips on my food and travel blog blackwhitevivid.com. I organize workshops as well as gatherings and have a little online shop for my Lightroom presets.
I found on your blog that you were abroad at the of age six for the first time. Why?
My family has always been fond of traveling. I’m a child of the GDR which means that my parents and I weren’t allowed to travel in my early childhood. But after the Fall of the Wall, we were always on the road during vacations. My parents had a lot of confidence in me, so it was ok for them sending me to Poland for a holiday camp at age six. I also traveled at age eleven for a language holiday to England together with a friend and we went on sightseeing in London afterward. I have appreciated the openness and confidence of my parents because these experiences have shaped my life and caused my wanderlust.
Meanwhile, I am feeling more comfortable abroad than in the familiar homeland. At the moment, I cannot imagine swapping my expat-life into a settled-down-life in Germany. Don’t get me wrong – I love my home but I also think that there is so much more to see and discover on earth, you cannot stay at the same place forever.
You have lived and worked already in so many countries. Therefore, do you speak a lot of languages?
I’m moving almost every one to two years to another country and this for more than ten years now; but, time doesn’t permit me to learn the language of those countries. Usually, I can speak a few important words to go shopping or tell the taxi driver where to go. Fortunately, many people speak English, but I also speak a bit of Spanish, Dutch, French, and Swedish. Through the years, I have also learned to read the international language of facial expression and gestures. When you get into this and learn to read people you will get so far with your hands and feet. I have visited nearly 75 countries and I cannot remember one single place where I had serious problems because of deficient language skills. Most of the people are very friendly, very obliging and they try their very best to help you.
At the moment, you’re living in Dubai – a beautiful, lively city. How did you come to Dubai?
I’m in Dubai, because of the job of my boyfriend. He works for a British consumer goods manufacturer, which allows us to live in so many different locations. My enthusiasm for Dubai wasn’t that big at the beginning and I didn’t want to move here. In the end, we always have the last word when it comes to the location decision and after our Dubai visit last fall I was positively surprised. Since then, I have tried to share some impressions besides the glitter and glamour world of Dubai on my blog and Instagram account. Dubai doesn’t only consist of skyscrapers and deserts but also has a very interesting young culture, which is developing at the moment and which cannot be found elsewhere. It’s a city with different cultures, religions, and nations from all over the world who live and work together. There is a great mixture of culinary selection, local design products, social initiatives and creative offers.
Tell us a bit more about your Dubai and your typical everyday life?
Until last year I worked full-time for a German company from my home office. It was a great fortune to be able to work for them after moving to Hong Kong because it is very difficult finding a new job at every new place. I decided to found my own company at the beginning of this year because my blog, as well as my photography, have developed continuously the past two years. Since that decision, there is no day like another. I am testing a lot at the moment and I decide where to go with my business day by day. Usually, I go to a café in the mornings to work there for some hours at the laptop; answer emails, work on new products for my online shop and do administrative work. I try to do as much as I can by foot here in Dubai at the moment because in a few weeks it won’t be possible anymore due to the heat and I will have to rely on a car. In the afternoons, I have meetings with people from Dubai every once in a while, who I get to know via Instagram. As often as I criticize Instagram as a platform, I also appreciate it. No matter where I move to or if I’m just on the road – there is always somebody who has a tip or who wants to meet for a coffee. It’s often the beginning of a friendship or new business projects.
When was the first time you thought about starting your own blog?
After we moved from Hong Kong to Kairo, I realized that some of my favorite products like nut butter, almond milk and so on don’t exist over there. That’s why I started to cook and create those products on my own. I also took some pictures of my results and started to share them on Instagram. In the beginning, I shared a few easy dishes like smoothie bowls and granola recipes, but after I got so much positive feedback and questions from my followers I started to publish them on my blog as well. It has been a long journey since then and the look and content of my blog has changed. But the main idea of a food and travel blog still exists.
We would like to hear more about the idea behind your blog.
I’m aware of being in a fortunate position to be able to travel that much and to learn about so many cultures. At last, the blog is a platform to be able to share these experiences in the form of recipes and travel reports. In the last two years, I started only to share the recipes which I got to know on my journeys. Besides, I also have a story and a personal anecdote of the particular countries to tell. It’s very important to me that my readers get to know more of the world and thereby lessen prejudices. They should see the country and its culture from another point of view. I’m convinced that every place on earth has something beautiful and magical and that’s what I try to discover and share through my travels.
Do you work as a full-time blogger?
My blog is my passion. I don’t earn money with my blog but rather I’m using it as a marketing channel to point to my work. It is not my purpose to change this because otherwise I would have to reduce the time for my photography, workshops and my online shop and these topics are my focus at the moment. Basically, it is difficult for me to bring my work on the market and to cater to brands for sponsorships; this is why I prefer to create my own content and have decided consciously against promoting products of companies on my channels. There are a few exceptions but only if I already bought the product or wanted to buy it anyway. For that reason, I have a lot more creative space and I’m able to concentrate on my job as a photographer.
How do you get the ideas for new recipes?
I get to know new dishes by traveling. Most of the time these dishes aren’t vegetarian or vegan recipes. Therefore, you’ll find my version of it on my blog which means that I ‘veganicize’ the food. In doing so, I’m developing new ideas. And I love to test new things and to experiment in the kitchen. In the process, the treat is ranked first always. Some of the recipes aren’t possible to cook without eggs or meat – so I keep my hands off it and look for other local treats which are already vegan or which are easy to modify.
Do you already know where to go next? Or do you call Dubai home now?
Hopefully, we will stay in Dubai for two to three years now. The whole process of moving is very spontaneous and short-term and we often don’t know three to four weeks before moving where we will go to. I myself would love to live in Europe someday again, e.g., in Italy or France but till then I wouldn’t mind exploring further parts of Asia, Africa or South America.
Do you have a favorite food or recipe?
I rarely cook the same recipe twice. But there are a few basic recipes which I love to eat in their different versions. For example pancakes or ‘Eierkuchen’ as you call them in my hometown. From American pancakes to French Galettes or Vietnamese Bánh Xèo. It’s the same for filled samosas. Empanadas from Argentina, Maultaschen from Germany, Ravioli from Italy or Dim Sum from China – I could eat these things every single day.
We’ll definitely follow Kati’s development and exciting journey through the world and are hopeful about reading more from her. If you’re also interested in Kati Boden’s way of life, follow her on her blog and Instagram account.
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Copyright: All images are copyright protected and property of Kati Boden.