Some artists say they keep to themselves, that they try not to look at other artists’ work for fear they will be influenced too heavily by what they see. Though I would love to be able to claim true originality for what I do—my designs, my recipes, my photographs—I can’t. For starters, I spent about a dozen years looking at food photography and beautiful cookbooks before ever deciding I wanted to do anything like it. So even if I threw all my Martha Stewart Living Magazines in the tag sale bin, never to look at them again, I would still have the impression of everything I had ever looked at.

So whether it makes me a hack or not, I look up to other artists, and am inspired by them.

Donna Hay probably influences me more than anyone else, or she’s at least in my top three.

She is an Australian food stylist and cookbook author with her own magazine. Her style is clean, and modern, and gorgeous. Her work is impeccable and a standard in the food photography world. She is becoming a classic all on her own. In fact, I would honestly emigrate to Australia if I knew she might hire me. . . Of course, that would present quite a few obstacles in my personal life, so maybe just for the months of March through June.

This book, Modern Classics Book 2 is all about desserts. Worth the price just for the photography alone, it is a treasure with dozens of old favorites and and updated classics.