Portfolio: Per-Anders Jorgensen

Personality on a plate
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The Independent Culture

Leaf through any cookbook and you'll be confronted with mouthwatering plates stacked with culinary perfection. But for the Swedish food photographer Per-Anders Jorgensen, "Everyone can compose the perfect food photo now – so I look for idiosyncrasies and the stories behind the food, to make it look alive."

"Startling" is perhaps a better description for his shot of the heavily tattooed Andreas Dahlberg, the acclaimed chef at Nordic restaurant Bastard. Holding a cock high above his head and a cleaver in the other hand, there can be no doubt as to what is about to happen. There's a sense of rustic assault in Jorgensen's shot of Dahlberg's signature "dish", too: represented by the head of a cod – there's no pussyfooting round here. "I could have taken a photo of the finished fish," says the photographer, "but that would have looked clichéd." Instead, we are granted the raw image of a severed fish head staring out at us.

These images also represent the growth of a cuisine that started with Fergus Henderson at his London restaurant St John. "I wanted to do something graphic to illustrate the nose-to-tail cuisine [where the whole animal is eaten] that has returned to European cooking."

But clearly Jorgensen wanted to have some fun with his subjects, too – from Victor Arguinzoniz peaking through a door to Swedish chef Magnus Ek provocatively holding a razor-sharp knife. "In real life, Magnus is actually very subdued," Jorgensen says. "But I wanted to show that in the kitchen, even the most mild-mannered chefs can become totally different."

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