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Saturday 2 April 2011

Fantastic Food Landscapes by Carl Warner

A British artist originally from Liverpool,
Carl Warner has been a photographer for around 25 years, working in still life studio photography and the advertising industry.  This background, plus his love of landscape photography and interest in food led to the evolution of his unique art-form of "Foodscapes" in around 2000.

Influenced by Salvador Dali and other surrealists, Carl makes arresting still-life images from a variety of foods, and other day-to-day materials such as office supplies, household appliances and more.

So much goes through my mind whenever I look at Carl Warner's "Foodscapes" that for once, I am almost lost for words. The first word that popped into my head when I laid eyes on his book was "breathtaking". "Intriguing" and "fascinating" soon followed. It's been a few months since I bought his book "Food Landscapes" but whenever I look at these images I still find details as yet undiscovered.
The book shows "behind the scenes" shots of Carl and his team at work creating his series of  "Foodscapes", explains how these were inspired and conceived, and shows the early sketches and list of ingredients used in each image. As a food blogger/writer, aspiring photographer and home cook, this is a book that fascinates me on many different levels.
I am so pleased that Carl has been kind enough to give me permission to use his image "London Skyline" as the new picture header for The London Foodie.  I cannot imagine a better picture for this London food blog.  It shows a stylised view of London with its many iconic buildings compressed into a single scene viewed from the South Bank.  Carl made the dome of St Paul's Cathedral from a watermelon with yellow stripes echoing the lines on the dome, the London Eye from green beans, courgettes, leeks, baby plum tomatoes, while the Thames lamp post was made from mackerel and asparagus, onion and vanilla pods.
The fascinating You Tube video below shows the work that Carl and his team undertook to create the "London Skyline" which was originally commissioned by the Good Food Channel.

Of the many fascinating "Foodscapes" by Carl Warner, "Salmon Sea" is another stunning work. The sea was made of smoked salmon, the rocks from dark soda bread while the sand and pebbles were created from sugar and pinto beans. The foreground trees are sprigs of dill, and new potatoes are used as rocks.

Taking inspiration from "The Wizard of Oz" which Carl saw as a child, he created the "Broccoli Forest". The turmeric path is an allusion to the yellow brick road winding its way through fresh herb bushes, broccoli trees and Jerusalem artichoke rocks, toward a large sugar waterfall set between two bread loaf mountains.

Commissioned by a Swedish fish and seafood company "Fishscape" is Carl's favourite "Foodscape" to date. The concept of "implied design" is key to this work, highlighting the connection of small things in the natural world that look like their larger counterparts.  It is fun to see how an ocean can be "made" out of fish, the wakes of boats from sides of salmon and sprats, oyster shells represent rocks and razor clams become jetties.

"Coralscape" was created in September 2009 using a sheet of rippled glass to create the illusion of looking above and below the surface of water.  Here, tropical fruit represent a small tropical island, while "underwater", a myriad of fruit and dried ingredients from Chinese and Indian supermarkets (including 5 durians) represent coral, plants and fish.

"Salamiscapes" was commissioned by an Italian advertising agency working for Negroni - the salami manufacturer.  They wanted three images made only from the cold cuts they produce, and no other ingredients in the shots.  "Salami river" is one of these three images: the sky, river and waterfalls are made of Parma ham, and mountains are created from Mortadella. Ciabatta and bread sticks were also used for rocks and to make up the log cabin and jetty.

"Cabbage Sea" is a dramatic scene and one of my favourites. Using red cabbage leaves as dark water and wet rocks, radicchio leaves also take the form of the foamy peaks of a turgid sea, its white veins making a perfect representation of the wake of the boat.  A large courgette and marrows form the rocks and a lighthouse toward which the boat is travelling.

"Garlicshire" depicts a Tolkien-esque scene - elephant garlic bulbs take the shape of dwellings clustered together, on top of Savoy cabbage used for soft vegetation.

Carl Warner's work, turning the mundane into interesting art, is whimsical and fun, and will undoubtedly get you thinking. His pure creativity, photographic technique and innovation are inspirational. I cannot recommend too highly his book "Food Landscapes" of which only a few images are shown here.

To buy Food Landscape, visit Amazon here.
To visit Carl Warner's website and see some of his other work, visit his website here.

Thanks Carl Warner for your permission to use your photographs and particularly the "London Skyline" as The London Foodie's new home page image.


  1. I saw some of them the other day and they are fantastic!

    Great new look!

  2. I love his work, have seen it in magazines and on TV, including a bit on the making of them... so wonderful of him to let you use it for your new look and it fits perfectly!

  3. Wow Luiz, I had never heard of him before! A very fitting image indeed. It's whimsical and representative of the pleasures we take in food. Lovely. :)

  4. Absolutely stunning and a perfect fit for you!

    I saw a spread on Carl's work in the Sunday Times magazine a while back (I think) but I have just bought a copy of Foodscapes because of you :)

  5. Amazing. Seen his photos before but didn't know who it was and that everything is really made from food. Very fitting. Love the new image!

  6. amazing Luiz, I love it! This is the BEST food blog header I have ever seen, perfect for your blog :) xx

  7. Wow, I have seen his work briefly before and it always stuns me. Such imagination and insight. I love your new home page image! It does suit The London Foodie very well, what an honour to be able to use it.

  8. Amazing work. Great choise to use it! It is the most appropriate image for you, indeed!

  9. @ Helen - thanks Helen, I also love Carl Warner's work!

    @ Kavey - I still cannot believe I didn't know of his work until late last year, it is fantastic, I am so lucky that Carl allowed me to use one of this images.

    @ Kellie - thanks Kellie, Carl's images are so much fun and ideal for this blog as it is all about food and London!

    @ Meemalee - thanks Mimi, enjoy your new book, you will love it I am sure. Lx

    @ Kay - I know, I am so priviledged that Carl allowed me to use one of his images, we exchanged a few emails in the process, he was incredibly kind.

    @ Ute - Thanks Ute, hope all is well with you in Wales these days…

    @ Vintage Macaroon - Hello Debbie, Carl's images are so full details, I just love finding new details every time I look at the same picture! I can't imagine a better picture for this blog.

    @ Taxuopouoc - I hope I got your name right! Thanks for your comment, I am pleased that the new image has been so well received. I am so excited and lucky to have one of Carl's images for my blog.

  10. Carl's work its very nicely executed. Nice guy too.

  11. These pics are incredible! I've never seen anything like them - think I like the bread and bacon one most!!

  12. It reminds me of some of Arcimboldo's works. They have an exhibit of his paintings at the Palazzo Reale in Milan until May. Very cool stuff.

  13. I cannot stop staring at the fish in your header image! Love it!

  14. Oh my, these pictures are AMAZING!! And so mouth watering. I'm going to buy the book right now. Lovely post. xx

  15. Fantastic work!!! I must say great eye for detail! Fabulous!!

  16. Fantastic work!!! A great for detail!!! Absolutely Fabulous!!


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