Carl Warner Is The ‘Willy Wonka’ Of Edible Art

Who is Carl Warner?

Born in Liverpool, England in 1963, he moved to Kent at the age of seven where as an only child he spent hours in his room drawing and creating worlds from his imagination having been inspired by artists such as Salvador Dali, Patrick Woodroofe and record sleeve artists such as Roger Dean and the work of Hipgnosis. Carl began his career by going to art college with a view to becoming an illustrator as he had a talent for drawing yet quickly discovered that his ideas and creative eye was better suited to photography as a faster and more exciting medium in which to work. After a year’s foundation course at Maidstone Art College he moved to the London College of Printing in 1982 to do a three year degree course in photography, film and television. In 1985 he left to assist various photographers in the world of advertising for a year, after which he became one himself.

Although a very keen landscape photographer he initially established himself as a successful still life photographer, and then began to branch out into other areas of photography in the advertising world, shooting people and landscapes for a wide variety of products and brands. Over the past ten years he has been developing a body of work making landscapes out of food, and has been commissioned by many advertising agencies throughout the world to produce these for clients in the food industry.

The mouth-watering sights were created by foodscape photographer Carl Warner, who likens his work to that of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka.

But Warner veers away from the enticing yet sinister symbolism of Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, instead using his creations to encourage healthier eating among younger children.

He said: “I use my work as a vehicle to get kids to think about what they are eating.

“Kids will look at a pile of chips and tomato sauce and go ‘yummy yummy’. But show them a pile of asparagus and they will go ‘eurgh, yucky green food’.

“It is almost like colour prejudice for food. But make asparagus become a rocket or turrets on a castle and it makes it much more engaging for them.”

Warner starts work by drawing his ideas on paper.

He then buys the produce and spends between one and three days assembling it with the help of pins and superglue.

He then photographs it layer after layer from the foreground to the background and assembles them into one image in post-production.

Warner, who was born in Liverpool, said the work rekindled the ‘childhood imagination’ in adults.

However, he said it had also resulted in a lot of unpleasant emails accusing him of “wasting food when children are starving”.

“It is something I seem to get but I just think some people are being ignorant about what they are looking at and what it actually does,” he added.

He said many hospitals, nutritionists and charities had used his images to help people in a positive way.

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