Carl Warner's Foodscapes Are Alternately Delicious, Disturbing

These wonderful and slightly unreal landscapes are immaculately constructed out of real food — which makes them even more interesting or highly disturbing, depending on your tastes.

Warner foodscape

Warner foodscape

Carl Warner

Advertising photographer Carl Warner's "foodscapes" are astonishing constructions of edibles that are as much photograph as bizarre storybook pictures. With a background in illustration, advertising photography and landscape photography, Warner's managed to combine it all into an utterly remarkable career — crafting huge, vaguely surrealist landscapes out of foodstuffs.

The process detailed on his website is an exacting and intriguing one. As anyone who has ever worked with food photography knows, they're extremely susceptible to light and heat, making planning as much of the process as the photography itself. Warner builds his sets on a custom made triangle-top table with the help of model makers and food stylists to put everything together.

“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.”

Achieving the lighting and hyper-real coloration of these photographs, not to mention the tightly controlled depth of field, means that Warner shoots each section of the image separately, and then combines them in post. All told, it takes them two to three days to assemble and photograph, then the same again for retouching and compositing.

Looking through Warner's work, you can't help but be astonished by the ingenuity of some of it — like creating sea waves at sunset out of smoked salmon, or a tree made of tightly coiled ham. There's a sort of storybook sensibility that pervades the work, with its hyper-real colors and insane landscape that makes them seem like something out of a fairytale.

If you're intrigued by Warner's foodscapes, he has a book of his work available on Amazon, or you can buy prints online.