Food

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Food Photography

Odd Apples: A New Photo Book Celebrates the Strange and Enchanting Fruit

August 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

Pink Pearl, native to California, mid-1900s. All images © William Mullan, shared with permission

Lumpy, spotted, and exposed in succulent slices, the apples highlighted in a new book by William Mullan aren’t those you’d typically find in a grocery store. Instead, the Brooklyn-based photographer focuses on rare specimens like Pink Pearls, the aptly named Knobbed Russets, and speckled Black Oxfords that he sources from farmer’s markets or rural roadsides. These sometimes hard-to-find varieties are the subject matter of his portraits that spotlight the stunning, strange diversity of the species.

The humble fruit has a long history of religious and cultural significance and of course, is also a commodity, a characterization Mullan hopes to complicate by celebrating their unique beauty. “Due to their heterozygous nature, every apple tree that grows successfully from seed will be a brand new apple tree, with traits coming from the seed parent and the pollinator parent” (aka pollen from a nearby blossom). Combined with the fact that the species has 42,000 to 44,000 genes, which is nearly twice as many as people, thousands of different varieties have been produced, creating “a splendid array of aesthetic and flavor characteristics: from apples with red and pink flesh, to apples shaped like stars, candles, and toads, to apples that taste like licorice and strawberry shortcake,” Mullan shares.

 

Knobbed Russet, native to Sussex, England, 1820

Published by Hatje Cantz with design by Andrea Trabucco-Campos, the updated edition of Odd Apples contains 90 images and was designed to feel like “a walk through a magical orchard,” one that captures the breadth of the species. A few of Mullan’s favorites include the dry, sour-cherry flavor of the endangered Niedzwetzkyana or the otherworldly, neon flesh of the oblong Kandil Sinap. While some of his subjects were cultivated relatively recently, others, like the lemony, vitamin C-packed Calville Blanc D’Hiver, date back to the 1600s. “Some of the best apples are really like, right off the roads and highways, along farm fence lines and inside city parks,” he adds.

The Odd Apples project originally began in 2017, with a smaller 32-page book published in 2018, and Mullan continues to shoot all of the images in his apartment or the studio at Raaka Chocolate, where he works as the brand director. Focusing largely on the color and texture, the enchanting portraits are imbued with meaning beyond the fruit’s physical qualities, and each is paired with a written profile. “Their character would spark something in my head, usually a mood or something from pop culture,” he tells Colossal. “Every portrait is an attempt to really capture the mood, expression, and character of that apple but also my interpretation of that and therefore all the experiences I’ve had in my life, too.”

A special, limited edition of Odd Apples, which includes a Hidden Rose print, is for sale on the book’s site, and it’s also available for pre-order on Bookshop. You can follow Mullan’s fruit and flower-based photos on Instagram. (via Creative Boom)

 

Top left: Black Oxford, native to Paris, Maine, 1790. Top right: Malus Sieversii. Bottom left: Kandil Sinap, native to Anatolia or Crimea, date unknown.Bottom right: Api Etoile

Niedzwetzkyana, native to Kyrgyzstan, date unknown

Hidden Rose

Left: Grenadine, native to California, mid-1900s. Right: Calville Blanc D’Hiver, native to Normandy, France, 1600s

Scarlet Surprise

 

 

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Food Photography Science

Striking Macro Photos by Levon Biss Crack Open Dried Seeds to Reveal Their Gnarly Insides

August 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

Coco de Mer. All images © Levon Biss, shared with permission

Within the vast collections of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a trove of dried specimens that once were juicy seeds and fruits primed for reproduction. Now gnarled, fractured, and blanketed in tiny, dehydrated bristles, the individual pods have been preserved as part of the carpological archive at the Scottish institution, a resource photographer Levon Biss (previously) spent hours sifting through in preparation for a stunning new series of macro images.

Spanning from the rampant clusters of the Ko Phuang to endangered rarities like the Coco de Mer,  the photographs reveal the inner details otherwise enclosed within the specimens’ shells. Texture and subtle color differences are the basis for most of the shots, which frame a cracked or sliced pod in a manner that centers on their unique components.

 

Kurrajong

The botanic garden’s collection is global in scope and boasts about 100 individual pieces per species, meaning Biss sorted through hundreds of thousands to choose the final 117 that have culminated in his new book The Hidden Beauty of Seeds & Fruits. Initially culled based on aesthetics, the resulting selection encompasses all processes of seed dispersal, along with information about morphology, location, and history. “I tried to make sure all methods were included in the overall edit so that the work becomes an educational tool, not just pretty pictures,” Biss tells Colossal, further explaining the research process:

Each specimen is contained within a small box, and sometimes, you would find a handwritten note on a scrap of paper where the botanist provided a visual description of the surroundings where the specimen was found. Some of these specimens are over 100 years old, and reading these very personal notes made me wonder what the botanist had to go through to find that specimen. What were their traveling conditions like? What did they have to endure to bring the specimen back to Edinburgh? Reading these notes gave me a connection with the botanist and was certainly one of my personal highlights of the project.

On view in the same space as the original specimens, Biss’s photos are up at the Royal Botanic Gardens through October 31. The Hidden Beauty of Seeds & Fruits, which is published by Abrams, is available now on Bookshop, and you can find prints from the series on the photographer’s site. Keep up with his biological snapshots, which include a striking collection of iridescent beetles, on Instagram.

 

Ko Phuang

Left: Firewood Banksia. Right: Dutchman’s Pipe

Bofiyu

Field Manioc

Left: Rosary Pea. Right: Sandplain Woody Pear

Candlestick Banksia

 

 



Craft Food

Crocheted Penne, Ravioli, and Spaghetti Recreate Pasta as Fiber-Rich Renditions

August 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All photos © Normalynn Ablao/Copacetic Crocheter

Normalynn Ablao swaps starch for fiber in her crocheted pantry staples. The California-based crafter shapes penne, coils of spaghetti, and stuffed tortellini, creating piles of yellow pasta from tightly looped yarn. Whether crocheting individual macaroni or ricotta-and-sauce-filled lasagna, the textured designs have a compelling resemblance to their edible counterparts.

Ablao shares an extensive archive of patterns for baked goods, snacks, and other fare on her site and Etsy. You also might enjoy similar fiber-based food by Lucy Sparrow, Kate Jenkins, and Trevor Smith.

 

 

 



Art Design Food Illustration

Lifelike Sculptures by Diana Beltrán Herrera Recreate Flora and Fauna in Intricately Cut Paper

August 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Diana Beltrán Herrera, shared with permission

Colombian artist Diana Beltrán Herrera (previously) adds to her growing collection of intricate paper sculptures with new plant and animal life. From her studio in Bristol, the artist and designer recreates lifelike reproductions of turacos, monarchs, and various species with nearly perfect precision. Innumerable fringed strips become feathers, faint scores mimic delicate creases in petals, and layers of bright paper form brilliantly colored plumes, creating a colorful and diverse ecosystem of wildlife from around the world.

Prints, jigsaw puzzles, and cards are available in Beltrán Herrera’s shop, and you can see more of her recent commissions and personal projects on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Food History

An Ancient Snack Bar Lined with Elaborate Frescoes Opens in Pompeii

August 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images via Pompeii Sites

The ancient thermopolium (aka hot food stand) that archaeologists unearthed in Pompeii late last year opens to the public this week. Showing the extent of the snack bar’s impeccable preservation—much of its structure, equipment, and vibrant decorations remain intact—new photos from the Regio V site offer a rare glimpse into life in the Italian city that was buried by volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

Elaborate, colorful frescoes depicting on-menu fare like chickens and hanging mallards line the L-shaped bar, with an array of large, earthenware vessels scattered around the space. Embedded within the counter are storage wells called dolia that would have held warm dishes and drinks like wine, duck, fava beans, a paella-style dish of pork, goat, bird, fish, and snail, remnants of which were found last year. According to a release from the site, middle- and lower-class residents rarely cooked at home and were the likely patrons of this small spot, which was one of nearly 80 around the city.

Although this thermopolium originally was discovered back in 2019, archaeologists didn’t return to resume excavation until 2020. Starting August 12, visitors are welcome to stop by every day between noon and 7 p.m., and you can watch the video below for a closer look at the relic. (via The History Blog)

 

 

 



Art Food

Takeout Containers and Worn Sketchbooks by Artist Yoonmi Nam Explore the Permanence of Everyday Disposables

July 27, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Sketchbook (small #10)” (2019), porcelain, cobalt slip inlay, and glaze, .75 x 8.5 x 6.25 inches. All images courtesy of Paradigm Gallery, shared with permission

A kitchen table, countertop, or cluttered desk are all likely spots to encounter a piece by South Korean artist Yoonmi Nam. Encompassing ceramic sculptures and sparse lithographs, Nam’s body of work evokes “an ever-present, yet always changing still life,” one that displays the ubiquitous objects of her everyday in more permanent forms. A deep well to hold a bouquet carves out a stack of porcelain take-out containers, minimal prints depict a leafy branch resting in a fast-food cup, and splayed sketchbooks are covered with graph paper-style inlays that appear punctured, leaving frayed ends and stray lines.

Nam’s subject matter, whether a disposable container or notebook with a cracked cover, always has a limited lifespan, a recurring theme that tethers each of the works to questions about ephemerality and value. The artist elaborates in a statement:

I am drawn to man-made spaces and objects that we surround ourselves with, especially when they subtly suggest a contradicting sense of time that seems both temporary and lasting. In the arranged flower imagery, the flowers, once cut from their roots, have only a short remaining time to live. They will quickly wither and die, but before they do, they are elegantly and elaborately arranged, as if time will stand still for them. The containers that hold them are disposable objects, such as a yogurt cup, a Styrofoam take-out box, and an instant noodle bowl. These throwaway objects and cut flowers engage in a dialogue that speaks about impermanence and persistence.

Nam has a few ceramic pieces and lithographs available from Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia, and some of her new delivery box-inspired sculptures are on view as part of 2021 Kansas City Flatfile + Digitalfile, which runs through October 14 at the Kansas City Art Institute. You also can explore a larger selection of her works on Instagram.

 

“Cairn Vase (large #2) ” (2019), porcelain and white glaze, 10.5 x 4.5 x 4.75 inches

Left: “Cairn Vase (small #1)” (2019), porcelain and clear glaze, 6.75 x 4.5 x 4.75 inches. Right: “Cairn Vase (large #2) ” (2019), porcelain and white glaze, 10.5 x 4.5 x 4.75 inches

“Cairn Vase (small #1)” (2019), porcelain and clear glaze, 6.75 x 4.5 x 4.75 inches

Detail of “Sketchbook (small #9)” (2019), porcelain, cobalt slip inlay, and glaze, .75 x 8.5 x 6.25 inches

“Sketchbook (small #4)” (2019), porcelain, underglaze inlay, and glaze, .75 x 8.5 x 6.25

Left: “Winstead’s” (2018), lithograph, 33 x 18 inches. Right: “M” (2018), lithograph, 33 x 18 inches

Detail of “Sketchbook (small #3)” (2019), porcelain, underglaze inlay, and glaze, .75 x 8.5 x 6.25 inches

“Sketchbook (small #3)” (2019), porcelain, underglaze inlay, and glaze, .75 x 8.5 x 6.25 inches