Read Time 8 minutes
Ten photographers who make food look super delicious
The girls are hungry … here’s Darklight’s pick of ten commercial, fine-art and multidisciplinary photographers whose work makes our tummies rumble.
Sadly unavailable for commissions, but we would be remiss not to open this list with Irving Penn [1917-2009]. Better known for his celebrity and fashion portraiture, this master of composition also turned his hand to elegant still life shots of fruit towers, scattered seeds, langoustine trying to escape their Bouillabaisse fate, vaguely obscene mozzarella and the ripest camembert there ever was. They still beguile us today.
We loved seeing Katerina Belkina’s Repast  triptych at this years’ Photo London; the phases of ageing as told through the food on a laid table, with echoes of still life oil paintings by Dutch Masters. Belkina uses colour and light as well as the symbolism of the different foods themselves to signify time passing in both a single day, and in a lifetime.
Israeli photographer Sivan Roshianu treats even the humblest of orange segments like it is a whole universe to be explored, and she explores it in astonishingly crisp detail. Her signature style of hyperreal single object against white background lends her work an almost scientific, studious quality, like a botanical drawing, but her adept lighting and use of contrast elevates each item to a work of art.
Rather than softening contrast and seeking out delicate, picture-perfect cuisine, Louise Hagger’s use of flash gives her photographs a sense of dynamic urgency, like you just have to dive in and eat what she’s capturing, immediately if not sooner. It’s visceral, viscous, textured, greedy work.
Behold the most satisfyingly ordered groceries you’ve ever seen … we’ve all heard of colour coded book shelves, but maybe it’s time to consider updating the fridge too … Ugolini’s eye has been well sharpened in his career as a graphic designer as well as visual artist. This series, Per Color, serves food shop with a side of colour theory.
There’s so much fun to be found in the food Jill Burrow works with: geometric jam splotches, bejewelled tins of sardines, baguette bookshelves. Playful and pretty as a picture.
A far cry from the curated tablescapes we’re used to seeing online, multimedia artist George Stuart captures the amusing details from real life: anthropomorphised cheese slices, pick-up-sticks spaghetti, mutant strawberries. His photographic style is raw and on-the-go, and, like his sculptural pieces, blends whimsy with a kind of wickedness; mystical spontaneous beings discovered in the everyday.
We all know and love Tim Walker, right? He’s definitely not a food photographer, but that doesn’t mean food doesn’t enter into his work – props within his fantastical, Roald Dahl-esque worlds [sets usually designed by collaborator Shona Heath]. Cakes are a favourite: patisserie growing from Lily Cole’s tree, cherry buns protecting Miriam Margolyes’s modesty, eighty iced confections framing his own iconic self portrait. Food for Walker is so much more than just something to eat, it’s a celebration!
Okay, not all the food Maisie photographs looks ‘delicious’, strictly speaking, especially when it’s a hair lying across a pile of egg mayo; but it ALWAYS looks exciting. Previous Darklight contributor Maisie Cousins is an artist obsessed with texture, so food in all its sticky, oozy, drippy glory is a natural fit for her camera lens.
Bobby’s punchy still-life taken with a macro lens are pleasingly arranged and delightfully humorous – tessellating edible patterns appear like kitsch wallpaper. The blocky, clashing colours have a retro, plastic quality to them––like a filmmakers vision of groceries in 1950s suburbia––but Bobby’s mastery of lighting is entirely modern.