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  • 06.06.13

A Surreal Recipe “Book” Made Of Tenuously Balanced Ingredients

You’ll find no Photoshop in this remarkable food photography. Just toothpicks, glue, and a whole lot of patience.

Pizza margherita, apple cake, minestrone soup, and salmon. They’re all delicious. And thanks to the endless patience of stylist Elena Mora and photographer Karsten Wegener, they’re all part of a balanced diet. Literally.

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Because to produce their photography series Ricettario: A Balanced Diet, the duo spent upwards of 12 hours per shot, meticulously deconstructing dishes into their respective ingredients, then stacking and counterweighting lemons, tomatoes, eggs, and raw fish into borderline surreal food art. The result is a series of dishes that seem to float in defiance of gravity yet appear so fragile that you’ll hold your breath even looking through your computer screen.


“We wanted to describe the ingredients in a different way from the traditional recipes in order to show how every single part works together to get the final result,” Wegener tells Co.Design. “And yes, a lot of ingredients fell down.”

Each time a dish collapses, it “destroyed everything,” no doubt requiring the entire set to be wiped down before the team began building again. I can’t imagine the patience it must have required, even if the images do hide a few toothpicks and drops of glue. And that’s entirely the idea. Because as superb as Photoshop has become, something about these pictures–maybe it’s the shadows, maybe it’s the physics–makes them feel real, which in turn pulls your eye across every micro detail with a level of studied appreciation, which in turn pulls your eye across every ingredient in the dish.

So the photography really does serve as a recipe book of sorts. Just be very careful turning those pages.

See more here.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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