Growing up we have always been told not to play with our food. French photographer Florent Tanet has a different thought on the matter and through the careful manipulation of fruits and vegetables, he coaxes precise compositions from the products we frequently encounter in the produce aisle.
Installation Magazine: How did your journey as an artist begin?
Florent Tanet: I graduated from the Duperré School of Applied Arts in Paris, where I developed my work in photography, graphic design and visual arts. After various experiments in several fashion houses, fashion design and art direction, I began to develop my collection of photographic work that mixes my obsessions: still-lifes, Minimalism, colors and daily objects.
When did food become the subject of your photographs?
I have always been passionate about cooking and gastronomy. I am very often surrounded by gourmets, so for me, it was the obvious choice.
For many of us, particular foods carry memories of childhood and a sense of nostalgia. What foods, if any, have that effect on you?
Traditional French food, especially dishes with sauces, duck and Truffle, and cuisine from the Southwest France where part of my family is from, carries a lot of childhood memories. More recently, North Indian recipes remind me of my travels.
Where do you find the subjects for your photographs?
I go to the supermarket just as much as local markets. They are, of course, two very different environments, but my choice is made by the products I am looking for. I go to the market every week to buy a variety of fresh vegetables. I use the supermarket for more exotic or non-seasonal products.
Do you have a culinary background?
Although I have no professional experience in this purview, I regularly cook and I love it. I make good use of my collection of books and kitchen utensils.
The manner in which each food item is sliced is incredibly clean and allows you to manipulate multiple products to create a hybrid fruit or vegetable, which goes against the thing we have all heard growing up: “Don’t play with your food!” There is a great attention to detail in your compositions. Do you feel like your work is guided by a sense of geometrical order or symmetry?
I put a lot of attention to the composition, and I think that’s the strength of this series. I consider my compositions as sculptures or paintings, in which there is no place for randomness. I spend a lot of time on the layout of my productions, which is what gives it interest. In the series A Colorful Winter, the three photos are constructed with a series of considerations: the color range, cutting, symmetry, organization, geometry, etc.
Is your practice seasonal? That is, will you only photograph items that are in season?
My products are not always seasonal, as sometimes I would need a color or a shape that I could not have with local products, especially in winter. I do, however, keep the contents of the pictures- if they are not too damaged by my manipulations- to cook afterwards.
All images courtesy of the artist