When it comes to food, it is said we eat with our eyes first. If that is indeed the case, then sated you will surely be from Paulette Tavormina’s beautiful photography. I was introduced to her oeuvre through a dear friend of mine and was enthralled immediately.
Crafted in the style of 17th and 18th century still-life paintings, Tavormina’s art is rich, luscious and satisfying to behold. Her pieces beg you to come in closer, to peer at the details of fig or eggplant, lean in to touch the cauliflower, smell the lemons, or pluck a translucent grape from its stem and pop it in your mouth.
With a background in commercial photography and food styling and recent winner of the Gran Prix II International Culinary Photography Festival, Ms. Tavormina was educated at the International Center for Photography in New York. Seductive, moody lighting and intense attention to detail mark her work.
In viewing, there is a sense of time suspended. This is fresh art and yet in the same moment it could be ancient, captured in a lost time long ago. It is hard to decide if one is looking at a photograph or an old master’s oil painting. For me they seem to slip between these two worlds. Intoxicating and magical. Tangible yet illusive.
Following are a selection of her pieces as well as her reflections on some of the works. For information on her upcoming exhibitions, click here.
Enjoy the feast!
“Watermelon Radishes is among my favorites. It took an entire week to get the lighting just right. By the end of the week, the root on the left had reached out of the frame and then curled onto itself. The radishes and the roots touch each other—a tentacle touching an open leaf, like an embrace or as if holding hands. They dance with each other.”
“My photographs tell stories. The “Figs” express the Sicilian family history. I can imagine they are from my brother’s tree that was a graft from my father’s tree and in turn a graft of my grandfather’s tree. Snails on the branches are from my cousin’s villa in Palermo, next to the abandoned Giuseppe Lampedusa’s villa (author of Il Gattopardo, The Leopard). Lampedusa died in 1957. Snails at his villa look the same as snails at my cousin’s villa.”
“[the] strawberries struck me as very dissimilar people: different faces and personalities, some guarding their space, others leaning to reach another, some looking silly, some old and some just starting to live, some sexy and some decadent. But all were perfectly delicious.”
All images in this post are Copyright © Paulette Tavormina
Quotes are excerpted from her website www.tavorminaphotography.com.
Ms. Tavormina is represented by the Robert Klein Gallery in Boston