Food photography exhibit opens Sept. 12 at Southern Food and Beverage Museum

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The Photography of Modernist Cuisine exhibit opens Sept. 12 at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. - COURTESY MODERNIST CUISINE
  • COURTESY MODERNIST CUISINE
  • The Photography of Modernist Cuisine exhibit opens Sept. 12 at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.


The Photography of Modernist Cuisine opens Sept. 12 at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 504- 569-0405).

The collection includes more than 50 photographs taken by Nathan Myhrvold and the team behind the popular Modernist Cuisine books, which highlight the scientific process behind cooking. Myhrvold culled an archive of more than 500,000 images taken during the publication of the books when selecting shots for the exhibit.

“The exhibition and book are in many ways a culmination of my lifelong interest in photography, in much the same way that Modernist Cuisine was a milestone in my interest in food,” Myhrvold said in a prepared statement.

Many of the large-format photos are more than six feet tall and include images of food subjected to various cooking techniques at a macro level. Mrhrvold used techniques rarely used in food photography including panoramic stitching, focus stacking and microscopy.

Visitors will be able to see the delicate insides of a blueberry and get a birds-eye view of the minuscule hairs covering the stem of a ripe tomato. Photographs include cross-sections of popular cooking techniques, including canning, roasting and boiling. Vegetables are shown being canned mid-boil and a giant pork shank is shown roasting above a bed of coals.

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Also on display are videos taken with a high-speed camera that show cooking processes, including a montage of popping popcorn, a fireball created from the essential oils taken from an orange, and the effects cream has when added to coffee and bouncing gelatin.

“We are looking forward to this exhibit and the ability to add programming about the science of food that it affords us,” said Southern Food and Beverage Museum president Liz Williams. “Besides being stunning photographs in and of themselves, this exhibit piques the scientist in all of us.”

Myrvold and his team of scientists and professional chefs published Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking in 2011: the tome became instantly popular and landed on the wish lists of chefs and foodies everywhere, despite its hefty price tag (Amazon currently lists the five-book set at $539).

The Photography of Modernist Cuisine (2013), will be available for purchase ($120) at the exhibit and includes most of the photographs on display.

The exhibit has so far been shown in Seattle, San Jose and Boston and will be on display at SoFAB through March 1.

For more information, visit the museum’s website here. 

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