“A good menu is a story, with its own narrative arc. Tension is built and released, emotions are evoked and questions are raised.”
Inspired by this sentiment and a shared passion for food, chef Robbie Postma and South African-born photographer Robert Harrison set about creating a set of photographs that combined the human form with raw, unprocessed ingredients. Bizarre, engrossing and, in some cases, truly frightening, the resulting series of images is aptly titled ‘MENU’ and takes the viewer on a mesmerising journey into the origins of a plate of food.
The would-be collaborators met at work; Amsterdam ad agency J. Walter Thompson employs Harrison as a creative while Postma runs the firm’s reportedly the first-rate cafeteria. The two embarked on this passion project, which took about a year to complete, without the aid of digital manipulation. Some pictures would take them up to 9 hours to set up and shoot.
Using Postma’s face as the canvas, base ingredients of a dish are artfully arranged across his features. From vegetables and seafood dishes to meat and even coffee, a range of edible elements are present. A visual representation of the duo’s interpretation of the ‘menu’ concept, they stuck to the same principles and values a chef would consider when creating a plate of food, paying close attention to details, composition and preparation.
“The project was so rewarding in so many ways’, says Harrison. “It wasn’t just the photographs themselves, it was also being in the studio, experimenting, trying to achieve those results and finding new ways. To me, this was the most important thing about the project.”
“The energy and the time and the dedication that we put into creating these faces, sticking everything manually to the face, that’s the power of the project I think’, adds Postma.
Visceral and provocative, MENU is a confronting body of work that invites observers to more closely examine their consumption habits and ultimately question what they put in their body. To learn more about MENU, visit the project website.