The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition, a collection of over 50 large-format photographs of food taken by Nathan Myhrvold and his team at Modernist Cuisine, opens September 12 at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. The exhibit, which previously ran at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, and The Museum of Science in Boston, will illuminate the fascinating, accessible science at work every day in the kitchen.
Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine at Home, both co-authored and published by Myhrvold, won recognition from critics and readers alike for their innovative and engaging photography. Now the creators of these award-winning books have combed through their library of more than 500,000 photographs and identified over 50 of their best images—many of them new or previously unpublished—to display. The exhibit will run through March 1 2016.
“I am thrilled to have our exhibit at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum—an institution that plays an integral part in documenting and celebrating American cuisine. I hope that others share with us the childlike wonder and curiosity I feel when looking at these photos,” Myhrvold says. “The exhibition and book are in many ways a culmination of my lifelong interest in photography, in much the same way that Modernist Cuisine was a milestone in my interest in food.”
“We are looking forward to this exhibit and the ability to add programming about the science of food that it affords us,” says Liz Williams, Southern Food and Beverage Museum president. “Besides being stunning photographs in and of themselves, this exhibit piques the scientist in all of us.”
The photographs vary in size, with many spanning 6 feet. Techniques such as panoramic stitching, focus stacking, and microscopy, which are not often used in food photography, show food from intriguing and novel perspectives.
For example, Myhrvold outfitted research microscopes with special filters to polarize light in order to illustrate the fractal structures and mesmerizing color gradations of vitamin C crystals. Visitors will witness the intricate inner details of a blueberry and the magical view of a boiling pot of vegetables in canning jars that have been sliced in half.
Visitors will also enjoy a compilation of food-related phenomena captured with a high-speed video camera. The videos include popping popcorn, a fireball created from an orange’s essential oil, frying eggs, adding cream to coffee, bouncing gelatin, and others. In addition, the exhibit’s collection includes several one-of-a-kind cutaway artifacts created for the production of the Modernist Cuisine books, like a blender, pressure cooker, and microwave oven.
The exhibit is accompanied by The Photography of Modernist Cuisine, a book showcasing 405 Modernist Cuisine photos in a coffee-table-worthy print size.