Mad Props #1

Mad Props is a series about orphaned objects and the process of photographing them in a new light.  Read about the project. For the first round of images, Big Leo artists Andrew Purcell, Sarah Cave, and Carrie Purcell teamed up to bring a new twist on the tried and true food shoot. #1. Drainers Sarah:  Seeing these objects for the first time, they were clearly very old, cream-ware and transfer-ware with the patina and proportions of real antiques. The word ‘trivet’ was thrown around, but we weren’t convinced. Then we spotted a long cream-ware fish platter nearby, and lo- the long pointed oval piece from the top left of the image fit perfectly inside, the tolerance a miracle of by-gone craftsmanship. Drainers… some quick research confirmed it- each of these once belonged to a platter or tureen, usually unnoticed but practical. Somewhere in the stacks we probably could have found the matching servers. Instead, we decided to shoot them on their own, highlighting their graphic nature while they did their job with matter-of-fact elegance. Carrie:  What could compliment the look of the strainers? Any old noodle just wouldn't do. We needed something that was both beautiful and shocking - fish heads strained right from the stock and a bloody rare roast!  I also loved the fresh ricotta in cheesecloth: whole milk is attacked by a little salt and lemon juice, causing it to separate into curds and whey. Strain the tasteless pale liquid away and you're left with a rich creamy ricotta cheese. Andrew: Visually the drains needed to be the hero. No offense to the food but the uniqueness of the strainers needed to be shown in their best light. The overhead framing really allowed the shapes of the drains to stand out and be graphic. With that in mind I thought a higher contrast would work best. Lighting props first and food second provided a unique visual representation for our project. It really opened my eyes to the importance of lighting for multiple layers within a single composition.