PDN Photo of the Day

Smoke and Mirrors: Kaleidoscopic Food Photography

In Lisa Shin’s series “Smoke and Mirrors,” the world is composed of bananas and gum balls, horned melons and green bunny Peeps, blue crabs and candy canes, all reflected kaleidoscopically into infinity. The New York City-based still life photographer, whose clients include Sephora, Häagen-Dazs, and Vogue, worked with stylist Eugene Jho on the personal project. It took them two long days to shoot. “Eugene wanted to do something different from the usual with exotic food and candies. I wanted something dramatic and a very dense composition since I had shot a lot of single objects,” Shin tells PDN by email. (Her work is often quite minimalist, as seen in the other personal projects included here.)

“Smoke and Mirrors” in process. © Lisa Shin

“We shared some ideas and inspiration and then he sourced the ingredients freely with no specific list. We did look at images that had mirrors, including shots of an infinite reflection, which we were able to utilize in the image of papayas and bananas. But for the most part, we just put ingredients down and sort of worked improv, bouncing ideas off of each other. The collaboration was very fluid,” she says. Shot in camera and cleaned up in post, the materials were layered on “smoke” colored plexi, and reflected in angled mirrors. Shin shot the scenes using a Sinar p3 with a sliding back adapter and a Phase One back and lit them with “a high key light camera-left, far enough not to reflect into any of the surfaces, and a bounce in the ceiling.” Says Shin, “The most challenging aspect was probably the amount of time it took to place everything as perfectly as we could.” As she wrote in a blog post about making the series, “in our industry, I believe those who obsess most are often well-rewarded.”

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