Eating and Eating

Alongside experiments with sugar, I explored through various poses for each sugary food. Eating is such a simple action, yet there are so many different ways of expressing them. One can eat a meatball pasta elegantly like the British tea time back in the old-time, where else another can eat the same meatball pasta messy and vigorously like kids do. I was imagining this series of photographs coming alive with messy type of eating. Sugar is an addiction which is uncontrollable and unstoppable, something one cannot resist its tempting existence. But overall this was very vague in my head. To be honest, I had no idea what sort of eating attitude was appropriate for the project. So without further ado, I jumped right into test shots of poses. So far I’ve done cup cakes, chocolates, cookies and donuts. Here are some of the photographs that I found strong:

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I realized there are two types of photographs in the collection; 1) intense eye contact with the model, and 2) close up of mouth eating food. Both still do show the focused action, which is eating. And to note, the hands, arms, as well as the face, are all going to be covered by sugar.

The photographs with the model’s eyes have interesting interaction with the audience. It almost looks like a fashion shoot, where the model is selling a product or a particular look to the trend and appearance craving readers. With this particular shots, the models are satisfying themselves with the sugary food, where else the audiences are dissatisfied with the persuasion (they do not get to eat and fill up their sudden crave). That realization right there is the effect of sugar, and its never-ending fulfillment of hunger.

At the same time, the other type (close-ups of mouths) are also intriguing. I like the fact that they solely show eating and that’s pretty much it. It’s such a narrowly focused point, but I think it works very well, particularly to pinpoint the sugar’s influence on human body. The absence of the eyes in here does the opposite. It allows the audience to be the model and let them enjoy the moment with the sugary food.

They both do different effects, and I do like how different they are. Perhaps I can have both types together as a series. One thing I have to be careful about is the composition. Many photographs become so similar to one and another because they are all ‘eating’ photographs. I know, I know. I said there are different kinds of eating in the beginning, but the poses really become limited when it comes to how we actually eat food. There are still many things to consider.

Next week is group critique with other honors students — time to seek other people’s opinions!


But first, have some donuts.


Painting with Sugar

Things are finally starting to roll out.

First thing first, I need to know whether sugar sticks onto the skin. My sketch right now includes a person’s face, arms and hands to be covered by sugar entirely, with its white sparkly surface reflected by the lights. It also needs to be stable for at the least 2 hours while I shoot and move around the model. Glue would be the easiest option to do, but that is automatically out of choice since I am putting them onto human skin (don’t want any medical residue!). Double sided tape is also a no; too adhesive that may cause skin irritation.

Instead off glue and tape, my awesome mentor, Julie, suggested me to use egg white. I had never heard of egg white as adhesive, but apparently it works perfectly well as a replacement of glue. So, during the weekends, I did some experiments to test out egg white glue. I mixed in colored sugar ball and pink sparkles to add vibrance in colors.

Since sugar dissolves easily and quickly becomes transparent in liquid, I figured I will coat a layer of sugar after the first one. As the sugar kept disappearing, I continued to add layers of sugar. After 5 times, the sugar coat was so thick that it started to become fairly heavy for my pinky to wear. On top of this, the thicker the sugar is, the harder it is to move the pinky. It makes sense though; egg white dries and hardens quickly.

As much as I thought it was going to be hard like concrete, once I move my finger, sugar coats break off quite easily. Although, I have to say that I do like the way sugar look when broken apart. I feel it is also interesting to see how colors melt and remain inside of the semi-transparent layers. If there are more sparkly sugar inside, that probably will enhance the appearance. It reminds me of amber…which reminds me of crystal…somethings that emerges out from the body… And this I like more. Instead of covering the entire skin, sugar can be a certain kind of mineral growing out of the body. Plus, this effect can be easily achieved by layering multiple coats of sugar and moving the fingers.

Egg white works very well in this case.