Cynthia D. Bertelsen's Gherkins & Tomatoes

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

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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.)

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

The final plating. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
The appetite aroused. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Tasting. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Just before serving. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
The wine, and much more. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Frying the beef. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Slicing the carrots. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Crushing the garlic, calling forth memories. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
The vineyards, the essence. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Tedious, time-consuming work. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Born of woman. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Les produits de la terre. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
La recette (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Reaching for the dream. (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

© 2013 C. Bertelsen

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