Still life with groceries

Posted by Anita on 11.12.08 9:42 PM

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**The image above is last weekend’s shopping haul, one of a series of similar photos I’ve been taking each Saturday since early summer. Inspired by my friend Jen’s beautiful shot of her farmers market purchases prettily laid out on a kitchen table in the cool spring light, I’ve started documenting what we’re buying each week. I flatter myself that it’s a fun Flickr set to flip through — overview shots of each week’s purchases all piled together, and a few solo portraits of our favorite finds — and an interesting way to keep track of the seasons. I can imagine referring to it next year (“Did we get corn in June or July?”) as a sort of visual seasonality calendar.

But, more than its mere utility, I’m struck by how beautiful the food we eat can be, especially in its natural state. Conventional wisdom holds that organic food is imperfect by nature, and uglier than the supermarket stuff. But after eating this way for the better part of two years, all I can see is the personality of our purchases. It’s perhaps a little too romantic to say that this aesthetic appeal is the direct result of the care that our farmers give their crops, and yet I do realize a lot of the variation I find so appealing — the huge with the tiny, the bright with the dull, the symmetrical with the misshapen — is part and parcel of the heirloom varieties and less-industrial methods that small-scale farming allows.

The set is a celebration of everyday beauty, the product of my brief meditation each Saturday on the wonders of the market. It makes me inordinately happy to lay out my week’s purchases on the counter, fuss with the arrangement, and set up the shot. Sometimes the light cooperates, and I end up with a subtly shaded image that’s like a Renaissance painting. Other times the spirit eludes me, and I end up with something less artsy and more documentary. Either way, I’m forcing myself to pay closer attention to mundane beauty, to wean myself from the fake perfection of the retail world.

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**

farmers markets, other stuff



Comment by Chez US - Denise

Beautiful! It all looks so …. good! Love the apples, especially.

Posted on 11.12.08 at 10:21PM

Comment by Vanessa

I love your pictures Anita.
Couldn’t agree more about supermarket food: produce doesn’t look appealing anymore to me, and I have cut out all processed foods and high fructose corn syrup from my pantry!

Posted on 11.12.08 at 11:17PM

Comment by Tiare

This partly explains why all these photos of all these fresh produce looks so appealing, the other part is your own photographic artistry. You are so lucky to be able to buy this kind of stuff. We have a farmers market here once a year during a few weeks only. The rest of the time you can of course buy organic but the prices are unfortunately way too high to buy more than a few things.I totally agree that the food is most beautiful in its natural state.

Posted on 11.13.08 at 1:30AM

Comment by Norm

Love your foodporn shots on Flickr!

Posted on 11.13.08 at 7:01AM

Comment by RebeccaC

I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has done this. Its oddly soothing, isn’t it?

I keep thinking: One day, in my dream kitchen, I’ll have a wall where I can place all of these in frames. Sigh.

Posted on 11.13.08 at 8:47AM

Comment by Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

I’ve come to give you some love ;) It reminds me a bit of that great article in Time magazine about what families are eating around the world. It might seem mundane to you, but you’ll probably really enjoy looking back on it later! (Maybe I’ll try to do it this week, too)

Posted on 11.13.08 at 11:26AM

Comment by maggie

So lovely. And worthwhile to meditate and what we’re bringing home.

Posted on 11.13.08 at 11:29AM

Comment by Jennifer Hess

Great post, and beautiful photos (as always).

Posted on 11.13.08 at 12:37PM

Comment by Bron

I think it’s a great idea! A neat sort of weekly ritual and celebration of the good food that lies ahead. I’ve been silently admiring them on flickr for a while, may try my hand with our haul tomorrow with some added things from our garden.

Posted on 11.13.08 at 1:30PM

Comment by Kirrily Robert

I was inspired to do something similar after reading the book “Hungry Planet”, which shows families from around the world posed with their produce. I tag mine with “hungryplanet” on Flickr. Here are mine and here are everyone’s, including pics from the book I mentioned.

Posted on 11.13.08 at 1:37PM

Comment by cookiecrumb

Where do you shoot it? Looks like the light cooperated.

Posted on 11.13.08 at 6:26PM

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