Portfolio: New York photographer Matthew Albanese recreates planet landscapes with the contents of his kitchen cupboard
Sunday 06 October 2013
In the beginning was paprika, and the paprika was spilt. As far as Creation goes, it was a clumsy one, but for Matthew Albanese, it was the start of an obsession that has so far lasted five years. "I'd spilt paprika in the kitchen," he says. "And as I was cleaning it up, I started playing with it and thinking about creating a landscape out of the material."
The New York photographer had been a fan of filmic special effects since childhood, and saw in the paprika mountain a way to recreate the mechanics of movie illusion in his own diorama. The result (after a couple of months of labour): "Paprika Mars".
To recreate a planet landscape takes more than a single canister of spilt spice, though. "As soon as I had the idea, I went out and bought 25lb more." To this, Albanese added chilli powder, cinnamon, charcoal and thyme to mould a food-based terrain that paid tribute to his love of sci-fi.
"Icebreaker" was two weeks in the making, including three days of cooking up sugar to varying temperatures to fashion differing degrees of hard crack and "icicles". The effect is remarkably realistic – though apparently not up close. "When people come into my studio, they say it looks like a pile of trash. Really the sets are only visible from one, very tight angle, and I make the foreground bigger and brighter to create depth. It's old-school movie magic." Lights, cameras, indeed…
Albanese's 'Strange Worlds' is published by Lazy Dog, priced €39
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Three million books were judged by their covers - this is what happened
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Joan Aiken: Today's Google Doodle celebrates life of British fantasy novelist
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Jamie’s Sugar Rush, TV review: Defeated by school dinners, Oliver takes on a new enemy
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees