Analysis: Sam Kaplan Photography

Photographer Sam Kaplan’s obsession with organization has led to a still life series that sees candies, cookies and tea cakes turn into pyramidal structures. Treats ranging from colorful confections to cheese sandwiches. They are arranged in triangular towers and deep descending craters, with each type, tone or style of snack forming a single layer. The multiple tiers of sweet and their color-coordinated qualities create mesmerizing patterns and geometries. Specializing in food and drink still life creations, Kaplan’s intricate pieces appear in publications such as The New York Times Magazine and Condé Nast Traveler.

sam-kaplan-pits-pyramids-food-art-designboom-06Stacks of sandwich cookies arranged into a pyramid

My initial approach to still life had been influenced by his pits and pyramid series, using tiny objects to constructing a more intricate structure. Apart from the meticulous arrangement of the individual objects, what made this image stunning beautiful was the use of lighting. Between the subject and the background, no shadows were cast. This suggests two sets of different lighting were used; one on the background, another on the pyramid structure.

Between the subject and the background, no shadows were cast. This suggests two sets of different lighting were used; one for the background, another on the pyramid structure, possibly a HMI light. This was to create a “clean” and “classy” feel, a sense of awe in the image.

The highest biscuit in this image looked slightly off balanced. The crisp and detailed image were likely achieved using focus stacking technique. These considerations led me to believe no adhesive material were used in his works, merging multiple images into a single composite.  The final image does not seem to have obvious barrel distortion, perhaps corrected. I like to think tilt-shift lens were used to minimize  distortion.

All in all, I enjoyed reviewing Sam Kaplan’s works, precisely the kind object construction which gets me excited on still life. If any opportunity, I’d like the photographer to share his work processes on these series.

 

For more of Sam Kaplan’s still life commercial works, click here.


Note: Sam
Kaplan’s still life have influenced my works, particularly in “still life one”. 

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