Foodscapes (Landscape and Modernity: Series 5)

Here's something tasty. Or odd. You decide.

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Fruit Balloons, by C. Warner

From the Telegraph (as found through Arts and Letters Daily), comes a unique series by London-based photographer Carl Warner. It says there he "makes foodscapes: landscapes made of food." The images below are borrowed from the Telegraph's slideshow, who borrowed it from Warner's homepage. To keep them under the same umbrella as the prior landscape and modernity images (trees; the West; the pasture; the A-bomb), I'll note this: we have here food items from actual physical landscapes (not represented landscapes), re-moved, re-ordered, re-shaped, and re-placed into imaginative scenes that evoke variations of the physical landscapes usually photographed or painted without such a multi-phased staging. Put differently, we have images of landscapes that are made of food; food which was grown in agricultural landscapes that are *not* depicted here; food that now has been carved and configured to appear as if it was a natural landscape. Sort of.

For our blog, where food and agricultural issues come up frequently, this is a quaint way to hold together the landscape stuff and the food stuff. And the puns, oh the puns are so ready... (are these landscapes cheesy? is this tasteful? when the scene is complete,the image taken, is the landscape devoured? as with the wilderness scenes of prior eras that were meant to show "wilderness" before it was civilized/devoured? Stop me, please.)

The caption to one of the images says "The scenes are photographed in layers from foreground to background, as the process is very time-consuming and the food quickly wilts under the lights." Another caption explains that the "images can take up to two or three days to build and photograph and then a couple of days retouching and fine-tuning them to blend together all the elements." Here are a few:

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This one is called "Coconut Haystacks"

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And here we have the famous Parmesan Cliffs of Aisle 7

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Annnnd, sans a giant of jollyness or greenness, this one's broccoli, a big ole broccoli forest

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For my sake, the Warner series had me recalling a childhood favorite, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs -- not because of artistic similarity, but because of, you know, the food, and landscapes, and edible weather. The last page of that book (which I don't have a scan of) is a snowy hill with the sun just rising over the top, which the kids see as buttery mashed potatoes.

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Technically impressive and very creepy. It probably goes without saying that there is a forced, unnatural quality to these landscapes. I don't know if this is how they are intended, but the images do a great job of showing how weirdly contrived foodways have become in the western world. I feel like I've walked into some kind of nightmare where Telletubbies have taken up farming in the Victory Garden. Soon Charlton Heston will be walk by offering hors d'oeuvres of Soylent Green.

I hadn't considered that -- "the images do a great job of showing how weirdly contrived foodways have become in the western world." A nice connection.