NPR : News

Photos: Enter A World Of Cupcake Sledding And Broccoli Lawns

Lots of us play with our food. But for photographer Christopher Boffoli, it's become a full-time career.

Boffoli rose to fame a couple of years ago. You may have seen some of his photographs — amusing dioramas featuring miniature plastic figurines in dramatic settings crafted from food — when they went viral back in 2011. More than 200 such images — at least half of which, Boffoli says, have not been previously published — are collected in a new book, Big Appetites.

Boffoli's scenarios, and especially his captions, evoke New Yorker cartoons — many are dark and humorous.

"I love the idea of taking something whimsical that people expect to be fun and turning on the fulcrum of their expectations to something more disturbing," Boffoli tells The Salt.

In his hands, an idyllic father-and-son sleigh ride around a snowy cupcake winter wonderland becomes a lesson on the perils of "eating yellow snow." Adorable teddy bear cookies are lined up as an invading horde.

Boffoli began the "Big Appetites" series more than a decade ago, and his images have been featured in museum exhibits around the world. (Our friends at The Picture Show wrote about one such show last year.)

His photographs have also found a following among art collectors: Prints sell from anywhere from $950 for a 12-by-18-inch image to more than $10,000 for one that's 48-by-72 inches.

"The elements of this work are toys and foods — two of the most common elements in cultures around the world," Boffoli says. "It gives the work broad appeal."

Part of the charm lies in the way that Boffoli's scenarios play upon the common childhood fantasy that toys have secret lives of their own. As Boffoli writes in the book's introduction, "These are actually real, tiny people with their own lives and complex culture."

Yet the images also speak to our own culture and the "dysfunctional relationship we have with food in America," Boffoli says.

"Food spectatorship and overconsumption are issues I wanted to work in subtly," he says. "But it's not really didactic."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

How Photos Of Crisis Can Shape The Events They Represent

NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Kira Pollack, director of photography and visual enterprise at Time, about how iconic photos might affect the conversation about the events they have come to represent.
NPR

How Big Egg Tried To Bring Down Little 'Mayo' (And Failed)

Newly released emails from the American Egg Board reveal embarrassing details about its fight against the vegan product Just Mayo. Industry critics say the board's antics may have broken the law.
WAMU 88.5

Friday News Roundup - International

Hungary struggles to deal with thousands of migrants at a Budapest train station. World leaders react to news the Obama administration clears a hurdle on the Iran nuclear deal. And the king of Saudi Arabia makes his first official visit to Washington. A panel of journalists joins guest host Tamara Keith for analysis of the week's top international news stories.

NPR

How The Architect Of Netflix's Innovative Culture Lost Her Job To The System

Netflix is famous for pioneering a company culture that demands standout results from every employee. One of the architects of this philosophy ended up losing her job to the system she created.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.