When you ask a food photographer for a favorite from their portfolio, you get a perfectly lit, beautiful styled photograph with just the right amount of good ole Photoshop. Then, there’s Matthew Hranek. Dig through his top ten photographs and you’ll come face to face with homemade pig face bacon (yes, you read that correctly) and a dinner table battleground, post-Adam Perry Lang feasting. It’s how do you say – surprising, but nonetheless thrillingly raw, honest and beautiful in its own sense of the word. Or as the New York based photographer likes to describe it, “very natural, graphic, and usually involving lots of meat.”

Hranek got his start in fashion photography, which explains the visceral, other-worldly aura to his work, and later delved into travel and food photography. He’s shot for Bon Appétit. Martha Stewart Living, and GQ to name a few. However, Hranek’s not your usual mystery man behind the camera; soon you’ll see him on the Esquire Network as the host of “Alternate Route,” his very own show dedicated to travel and food bookended with tidbits on gear, style and adventure.

So before Hranek becomes a household name, read on about his favorite food images and the stories behind them.