Inspired Photographer Explores The Idea Of Creating Art With Food

See all the deliciousness behind his artistic process.

Photo by Aaron Bernstein.
Inspired Photographer Explores The Idea Of Creating Art With Food
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Adobe Creative Resident, Aaron Bernstein, also known as @hungry.boy is currently exploring the artistic overlap between food, art, and style. We caught up with Aaron this week to hear all about the magical and sometimes messy process behind his creative works. Read on to learn the A – to – Z pro tips of making photography more playful.

What inspires you to create art with food?

Coming from a family that loves to cook, I’ve always had an appreciation for food. It wasn’t until I moved to New York, however, that I really found a true love for it. In such an overwhelming environment, food became this one thing that I could control: if I could cook a meal or afford to buy food each day, it was a small measure of success for me. This new obsession kind of spilled over into all aspects of my life, so I think food becoming prevalent in my photography was a natural progression. I love the potential that food has in art. It is such a multi-sensory medium, and trying to translate such an array of experiences through visuals is really appealing to me.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I create to communicate ideas and feelings that I wouldn’t be able to do in any other way. Being able to visualize these concepts and bring them to “life” helps me to navigate a deeper understanding of what I’m curious about in culture and the world around me. I love the very beginning of a photoshoot where you can finally start to see the ideas you had come together, forget about all the little planning details, and tangibly see the makings of the imagery you sought out to create. There’s always a really thrilling moment for me where I figure out how I can even take things one step further than what I originally imagined. This is a really pivotal feeling for me, and that in-the-moment thrill is definitely something that pushes me to create new work again and again.

Photo by Aaron Bernstein.
D is for Dragon Fruit, Dumpling, Duck Sauce, & Doritos

A big part of why I wanted to do this series was to push foods out of context and mix and match different ingredients that seemed weird together in the same frame. I debated long and hard about what to include for D, and tried to settle on foods that would play off of each other really interestingly in shape, scale, texture, and color. By incorporating the plastic packaging and sticker that the dragon fruit originally came in, I was able to tie together the orange color from the Doritos and duck sauce a little bit better, which was a happy accident I found while shooting. I was also really interested by how the seed pattern in the dragonfruit played off the speckles in the Doritos.

Photo by Aaron Bernstein.
E is for Egg

When I shot this image, I was nervous I was going to have to rework it a few times. I knew I would have a very neutral color palette with eggs, and was hesitant on getting a dynamic enough result. After going through a couple of varieties of eggs before settling on the brown shell, I realized that being so intentional and controlled with quieter colors could be just as exciting as with more saturated ones. In the end, I think the stark tones really help elevate the form and composition of the shells themselves.

Photo by Aaron Bernstein.
M is for Marshmallow, Maple Syrup, Mushroom, Miracle Whip, & Mint

This was actually one of the first images I shot in the series (I generally tried to shoot everything in order, but there were a few exceptions in the beginning). I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about making all of the elements go together, but was really excited about the creamy, neutral color palette of the ingredients with the hints of green from the mint leaves and background. It turns out I had unknowingly bought a faulty mayonnaise from the store (someone had previously opened it and scooped some out before placing it back on the shelf for sale), so I was afraid to touch any of it myself. This led me to the decision to try incorporating the actual packaging into the frame with a more sculptural execution, which ended up influencing how I approached some of the other images as well.

Photo by Aaron Bernstein.
U is for Udon & Ube

This was one of the most challenging letters to create, as both the udon and ube were extremely hard to find. Ube is not commonly sold in its pure produce form because it is difficult to handle, so the most immediate way I could find it was pre-shredded and frozen packs. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work with the noodles, so I ended up freezing the udon to reflect a similar shape. The final result is from the ube thawing out and beginning to break apart, but I was happy with the abstracted scene that it made while still capturing a similarly playful style as the rest of the series.

Photo by Aaron Bernstein
Z is for Zucchini & Zebra Cake

For my still lives, I try to shoot with as much real food as possible. What people don’t see, however, are all the toothpicks, tapes, glues, and Play-Doh (a great trick) to temporarily defy gravity and hold ingredients in place. These super thin zucchini slices were a definite challenge to work with, but their constant movements also inspired a really intricate animated version of the same set-up.

Want to learn more about the Creative Residency program? Head over to the Adobe Creative Residency page.

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