Les Rêves de Julia (Julia’s Dreams): Meditations and Memories

Food and cooking serve as metaphors for life and love. Each plays a huge role in the way I see and photograph the world. I seek to nourish both eye and soul with my photography, in much the same way I feed bodies through my cooking. The work of food photographer Penny de los Santos inspires me, as she conveys the luminous beauty and harsh reality of food through her work.

Photographs of the cooking process usually take the form of still-life, a tradition deeply ingrained in the Western mind – think of the superb paintings of Dutch artists like Pieter Aertsen and Willem Kalf in the 16th and 17th centuries. Les Rêves de Julia – using digitally captured and composited photographs printed on common photographic paper – attempts to portray the rigid culinary traditions of classic French cuisine.

Based on iconic chef Julia Child’s instructions for Boeuf à la Bourguignonne from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961), Les Rêves de Julia deconstructs that recipe through a series of images representing key steps in the cooking process, evoking memories and longings at the same time.

(There are several images in this series, my final project for a class taught by Hans Gindlesberger at Virginia Tech. Note again that the project DECONSTRUCTS the recipe. The images in the composites come from my last two trips to France.)

002 Dirty dishes
Dirty dishes, the true end of the meal. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

01 Final plate
The final plating. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
02 Final dish
The appetite aroused. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
03 Tasting
Tasting. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
04 Final stew
Just before serving. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
05 Wine
The wine, and much more. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
06 Frying beef
Frying the beef. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
07 Chopping carrots
Slicing the carrots. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
08 Garlic crushing
Crushing the garlic, calling forth memories. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
09 Onion slices
The vineyards, the essence. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
10 Peeling onions
Tedious, time-consuming work. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
11 Ingredients
Born of woman. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
12 Onions hands
Les produits de la terre. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
13 Recipe
La recette (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
14 Julia
Reaching for the dream. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

© 2013 C. Bertelsen

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