You've probably seen Carl Warner's work in advertisements or lurking around blogs, things like a Tuscan landscape (above) made entirely of table-appropriate regional ingredients: Romano pepper and green chili Cypress trees, pine nut stone walls, Parmesan farmhouses with red pasta roofs. In his just-released book, Carl Warner's Food Landscapes, the Kent, England-based photographer reveals what it really takes to build a salami winter wonderland (Mortadella mountains, Parma ham for that sky, and Pancetta foothills).
That Warner reveals in his first book what goes into each of these pieces is what saves this from being yet another photographer's portfolio/coffee table number. He shares his drawings that led up to that "cheesescape," along with studio shots of his assistants at work carving blocks of cheese and arranging whole sides of salmon to look like rippling ocean waves (there are no computer enhancements on these photos, much as it appears otherwise).
Warner also explains the constraints of each food assemblage. Not your usual melting ice cream or mortician's wax everyday sort of food styling issues, but things like making ripple-like creases in the surface of a shallow "lake" while simultaneously taking the photograph (Warner and his team of assistants settled on a few wooden paddles and what he simply dubbed "adult toys").
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Don't think we'll be looking at a gingerbread house in quite the same way ever again.