At first glance, each photograph in Carl Warner's Food Landscapes appear to the viewer as a vividly colored, perhaps a touch surreal, pictorial landscape. As the eyes focus, the details of the photograph reveal compositions that are evocative of a landscape, but entirely created from food. The themed photographic landscapes (Salmon Sea, Tuscan Kitchen, Garlicshire) translate into possible ingredients for a virtual menu.
Carl Warner has been creating food landscapes in his London photography studio for a little over a decade. The work has been commissioned by advertising agencies and food clients, some were created simply because Carl Warner had an idea.
more on Food Landscapes after the jump
Warner spent time alone as a child in his room drawing. His themes included spaceships, aliens, and the world of the future. (Mom, save those drawings!) In his introduction to Food Landscapes, Warner references Salvador Dali and Patrick Woodroffe as fuel for his early imaginings.
Later, as an art school student, he discovered and explored photography as a vehicle to express his ideas. Warner credits exposure to the work of album cover artists Storm Thorgerson and Roger Dean as his ah-ha moment to pursue a photography career in the advertising world.
The work of still life food photographer Tessa Traeger got Warner thinking about three-dimensional representations of food. But it was his encounter with portabella mushrooms reminiscent of trees from an African savannah that lead Warner to his first food landscape. The food landscapes can be viewed on the Internet. Why the book?
The beauty, beyond the photographs, of the book is the sharing of information- how each landscape was created. In his commentary Warner generously walks the reader through his process of creating, constructing, and shooting each landscape. It's a two to three day building process, with hours of photographing the model in layers, retouching and blending for the final landscape.
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The concept sketches, lists of ingredients, and techniques for set design add to the story of landscape creation from idea to final model. Photographs of the landscapes in progress provide instruction and show the precise and painstaking work done by Warner's team of food stylists and model builders.
Each landscape becomes a delightful surprise as the viewer begins to discern that clouds are really mozzarella, the silver sea is a spread made of whole fish, haystacks come from coconuts, and the dome of St. Paul's is a watermelon!
Warner's landscapes have universal appeal, the scenes are iconic, even the fantasies. A few hours on the couch viewing the book with a photographer friend and a guessing game with a preschooler lead to the addition of Food Landscapes to a top pick for holiday gift giving.