I eat the works I create
British photographer Carl Warner, 50, has been using edible food items such as bread, meat, fruit and vegetables to "paint" amazing, picturesque Foodscapes - or landscapes made of food - since the late 1990s.
My Paper spoke to him to find out why he does what he does.
Do you eat the works that you create?
Of course, that is the best part.
Food is a great pleasure both visually and taste-wise, so enjoying it on every level is what my works are about. They are a celebration of food, and I use ingredients in the same way that a painter uses paint.
How did you get into using food as part of your works?
I am not a traditional food photographer, but more of a still-life photographer. I found that food ingredients (rather than cooked food) are very interesting subjects in terms of organic structures and formations.
I was struck by the fact that these patterns and aspects of design are seen throughout the natural world, and I wondered about creating larger scenes of the natural world from its smaller components.
Some of your pieces are very elaborate. Do you construct your art pieces or do you get help?
I work with a team of model makers and food stylists who help build the larger scenes. But I made many of the smaller scenes myself.
What is the most challenging aspect of creating Foodscapes?
The biggest challenge is working with fresh ingredients that will wilt and dry out under studio lights.
We have to plan each part of the shoot carefully, so that we can assemble the image in a way that makes everything look its best.
How do you come up with the concepts behind your works?
Much of my work has been commissioned by advertising agencies or food brands, so the products tend to dictate many of their ideas.
Inspiration can come from the ingredients or a location that we are trying to recreate.
How long does it take for you to construct a piece?
It depends on the idea, the size of the set and the amount of model-making required.
Simple scenes can be done in a day. More elaborate pieces are shot over several days. We shoot the scene in layers, which are then put together in post production.
How did you create the Bread Village?
This was a commission from the La Brea Bread Company for a poster campaign in Ireland.
My model maker built the houses out of blue cheese and constructed the stalls for the country market.
The rest of the work is just dressing the set with food ingredients that add details, to bring it all to life.
What is your favourite image from the Foodscapes collection, and why?
My favourite is the Fishscape. It was a very difficult scene to create as we had to do it all in one day and work with fresh fish, which deteriorated very quickly (and also started to smell).
What is the one lasting impression that you want to leave in your photos?
I love that my works make people smile. To give people a sense of joy is a great reward and privilege for me.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a go at creating "foodscapes"?
Try to find a different angle or see things in a different way. Create according to your passions and desires.
Above all, have fun and love what you do, as that will shine through in your works.
PRABU KRISHNA MOORTHY
Four of Carl Warner's Foodscapes are being shown at Central as part of the mall's Food Festival, on until July 28. Spend any amount at the mall's food-and-beverage outlets and bid with your receipt for an autographed Foodscapes work of art. For details, visit www.thecentral.com.sg