Born in Liverpool, England in 1963, he moved to Kent at the age of seven where as an only child he spent hours in his room drawing and creating worlds from his imagination having been inspired by artists such as Salvador Dali, Patrick Woodroofe and record sleeve artists such as Roger Dean and the work of Hipgnosis. Carl began his career by going to art college with a view to becoming an illustrator as he had a talent for drawing yet quickly discovered that his ideas and creative eye was better suited to photography as a faster and more exciting medium in which to work. After a year’s foundation course at Maidstone Art College he moved to the London College of Printing in 1982 to do a three year degree course in photography, film and television. In 1985 he left to assist various photographers in the world of advertising for a year, after which he became one himself. We have compiled Carl Warner & His Stunning FoodScapes for your inspiration.
The ‘Foodscapes’ are created in Carl’s London studio where they are built on top of a large purpose built triangular table top. The scenes are photographed in layers from foreground to background and sky as the process is very time consuming and so the food quickly wilts under the lights. Each element is then put together in post production to achieve the final image.
“ Although I’m very hands on with my work, I do use model makers and food stylists to help me create the sets. I tend to start with a drawing which I sketch out in order to get the composition worked out, this acts as a blue print for the team to work to.”
Once the drawing is agreed upon, Carl then works out what each part of the scene will be made from, and working with his food stylist they together determine the best ingredients to work with in order to achieve his aims.
“I tend to draw a very conventional landscape using classic compositional techniques as I need to fool the viewer into thinking it is a real scene at first glance, it is the realisation that the scene is in fact made of food that brings a smile that brings a smile to the viewer, and for me that’s the best part”
Having worked for many years as a photographer bringing ideas to life for advertising agencies Carl became very experienced in lighting, and especially the recreation of natural looking light using a combination of tungsten and flash lighting equipment.
“I’ve always enjoyed the discipline of working in the studio, and the spontaneity of working outdoors in natural light, as you never know what you’re going to get. With my ‘Foodscapes’ I can now put together the knowledge of natural light with the control of recreating it in the studio in order to bring out the colours and textures as well as the beauty of a scene”
These images can take up to two or three days to build and photograph and then a couple of days retouching and fine tuning the images to blend all the elements together. Carl spends a lot of time planning each image before shooting in order to choose the best ingredients to replicate larger scale shapes and forms within nature, so he spends a lot of time staring at vegetables in supermarkets which makes him seem a little odd! However, he is careful to point out that finding the right shaped broccoli to use as a tree is an all important task.
“Although there is a fair amount of waste, there is a lot of food left over which is always shared out with the team, though most of the food used in the sets have either been super glued or pinned and none of this makes for good eating!”
Images Courtesy & Copyright: Carl Warner