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Carl Warner is an amazingly talented artist who takes common food items and transforms them into stunning works of art known as ‘Foodscapes’. Pasta hills, thyme trees, mozzarella clouds, salami rivers and red onion balloons. These are just a few of the intricate details found in the mouth-watering food worlds created for European advertising and food industry campaigns
Each Foodscape is painstakingly built over several days, from the planning stages to building the 3D food landscape to the final stage of digital retouching. The scenes are photographed in layers from foreground to background and sky, with the elements then put together in post-production to achieve the final dazzling 3D image
“I could shoot the images in one shot but the food in the foreground would have perished by the time you have finished the background,” explains Warner. Unfortunately, the food is no longer edible after being glued, pinned and fiddled with under the hot lights during the photography process, but the leftovers are shared with the crew or sent to a homeless shelter.
“I do not consider my work to be a waste of food as I am creating something which brings a bit of joy to the world and is used to encourage healthy eating. The fact that it is not eaten does not mean it hasn’t been put to good use,” he explains.
The resourceful and ingenious series requires numerous shots — Carl first sketches out a traditional landscape scene before introducing the food. Each scene is then captured in separate layers to prevent the food from wilting. He then uses computer technology to combine them into a single final print.
To give a realistic 3-D feel to the photos, each still life is composed on an 8 foot by 4 foot table. The foreground is only about 2 feet across. The artist from Tonbridge, Kent, who was born in 1965, creates amazing panoramas, including a broccoli forest, bread mountains, a cheese village, and smoked salmon seas. “I like the way smaller aspects of nature resembled larger ones.” says Warner.
The success of the project has motivated Warner to plan for the images to be released in an educational book to encourage kids to eat healthier. He says his ‘Foodscapes’ were partly inspired by healthy eating campaigns, but they haven’t persuaded his own children to take up the 5-a-day pledge. “But at least they don’t play with their food as much as I do.” said Carl.
His solo exhibitions include ‘Sense’ at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne in 1995 and ‘A Concrete Pasture’ at the University Art Museum, University of Queensland, Brisbane in 1998 and Cairns Regional Gallery in 1999, ‘The Art of Inclusion’ in 1999-2000, and ‘Minimal’ at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney in 2000.
His work is truly inspirational in the breadth of imagination shown, and the scenes that he creates are always memorable. This is an exceptionally gifted individual, whose work deserves far more recognition. Carl Warner, an awesome talent if ever there was one
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