Turnip Slaw Still Life…

8C5A8219_1I was going to run this for my new Outtakes column on Diner’s Journal but I was a little late. Glad to be able to share it here.

With a subject as simple and somewhat monochromatic as this Turnip Slaw by Melissa Clark , published earlier this month, it helped to take an all or nothing approach. White on white on white may seem like it has little to offer on the surface but when you begin to see the subtle variations in color, light quality and tone it can make for a beautiful study. The image that ran with the story is a more traditional approach to food photography where this effort is more of an indulgence. I am inspired by the cover paintings of Cook’s Illustrated and seek to make my own art in that vein whenever possible.

By adding the bold architecture of the bottle and grinder and to the image and by keeping the depth of field very shallow the image took on an ethereal quality that I found very appealing. Also, the fold in the napkin gives the overall composition a lived in look, less fussy and formal. The distance from the viewer is intentional, meant to give the illusion of having to stand back and look at the spaces around the shapes. It did not surprise me that this was not the image that ran with the story because this is more about form and shape rather than food but making pictures like this  is an exercise in being versatile and following your influences as an artist.


Filed under NYT Diner's Journal, Photography

7 responses to “Turnip Slaw Still Life…

  1. The architect/designer in me appreciates this…

  2. This photo is pure brilliance. The fold in the napkin is what caught me. The distance, the angle, and the odd yet dramatic simplicity make it a painting to be observed and interpreted. I don’t know how you manage to inject emotion into a snapshot of turnip slaw, but you do.


  3. I just came by your blog and imagery…beautiful and art-filled. the tones and distance in your image caught my eye immediately and your last sentence sealed the deal for me.

  4. judithbishop

    The more I look at the picture the more haunting it is. The wash of color and peppermill ghost draw me in. Thank you.

  5. I love this still life. It really does capture the “spaces around shapes.”Also, the shapes of the grinder and bottle contribute a grounding of the photo. The highlight on the spoon, the light coming in from the left side of the frame makes the turnip slaw bewitching.

  6. wow! Your images are so inspiring! Thanks for sharing🙂

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