Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A New Art Project: Picturing My Food

I only started taking pictures of my food last May when I realized that I wanted to include photographs on the blog. Never in the course of cooking these dishes over and over again had I ever thought about taking their pictures. So here I was having to cook all these old favorites again—in order to take their pictures. We ate the dishes, of course, with so many fond memories. But still it felt like the photographing was just one more thing I had to do in addition to figuring out the technology, conceiving, writing, editing, posting, and the rest. In the process, I learned something about photographing food (the first thing is to remember to do it) and I gathered quite a few pictures on my iPhoto.

But there’s more to it than that. Last fall I bought Paula Wolfert’s new cookbook Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking which I wrote about in a blog on November 18, 2009. I mentioned the problem with the lack of photographs and how I had solved it by taking photos of my clay pots and the dishes I made in them and pasting them into the cookbook. The cookbook took on a whole new character. It was really mine—with useful information and snapshots.

The next steps happened so slowly that I can hardly remember the exact moment I noticed. First I started taking pictures of the dishes I made from cookbooks without photos. From there I proceeded to take photos of my food regardless of whether there was a photo or not. Next I took a picture of everything that went on the table. Finally I went back to all the photos I’d taken for the blog and glued them into the original recipes from which they were adapted. All of this involved lots of pasting and taping—thankfully I am very fond of both.

Slowly it dawned on me that I am embarked on an art project. I am adding color to cookbooks that have none (think of Joy of Cooking). I am superimposing my images on top of the food stylists’ versions. For my own edification, I am recording useful visual information about the cooking pot, the serving platter or the plate and documenting the dish’s appearance. I am making the cookbooks prettier and prettier. The artist in me is transforming the everyday into little pieces of color, remembrance, and art. I don’t know how long this project will last—could be a year, could be less. As long as I am amused and delighted, I'm happy to continue for a while.

How to: About once a week I download the photos from my camera into iPhoto—and move them into the very large “Event” called Food and Store Lists. Then I select the photos I want to print on letter-sized glossy photographic paper. I print the photos small, 2 x 3 inches, so 8 or 10 will fit on a sheet of paper. I cut them up and paste them into the cookbooks with Yes!.

2 comments:

Tim said...

BRAVO.............
I love seeing all your parts.

Tinky said...

You are WAY more thorough than I. Congratulations on branching out in so many directions.......