It should come as no surprise that London-based photographer Carl Warner got his start as a landscape and still-life photographer. That much is evident in his current work, which takes both styles and mixes them to create a wonderfully surreal result. And no, they aren”t photoshopped.
The Great Wall of Pineapple
Breadford and Cheesedale
The Onion Taj Mahal
Warner”s Foodscapes, as they”re called, are created by meticulously assembling various food items in his London studio. Foods are selected based on the scene Warner wants to create. They are then arranged, sometimes with glue and pins, over polystyrene armatures with the help of his team. The finished result is carefully photographed with specially-chosen lighting to look just right (a throwback from Warner”s days as an advertising photographer). Special effects and details, such as atmospheric skies and glowing stars, are added in post-processing. So yes, there are some digital effects, but not where it truly matters.
The project of the Foodscapes, which is some 15 years in the making, has taught Warner a lot about food, both in terms of quality and potential. The Foodscapes have even caused him to be a bit more adventurous in the kitchen, though he says that his photography is still his main talent. “If I was as good a cook as I am a photographer, I would probably be a chef!” he jokes. He also learned a lot about what kinds of foods hold up and look fresh for a long time (curly kale is one of his staples), and which foods will oxidize or wilt quickly.
If you”re wondering about what happens after the shoots, the food isn”t wasted, when possible. Some of the food items have to be pinned or glued to achieve the desired effects, and are therefore not edible. However, what is edible is usually split among Warner and his team, with any leftovers going to homeless shelters.
Warner”s Foodscapes are inspired by a variety of things. Sometimes, like for his book A World of Food, scenes are made from foods of the same color. Other scenes are inspired by world icons, and sometimes use foods from a specific area of the world. Warner is often inspired by the foods themselves, seeing potential in their colors and shapes. He says that he”s able to make it through a meal without building a miniature landscape, but admits to spending a longer-than-average amount of time in the produce section as a result of his work.
You can see more of Warner”s Foodscapes, as well as his other photography work, on his website. His work can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.