The 12.6-pound behemoth that is The Photography of Modernist Cuisine landed on our desks today, all 300 (OK, 312 pages) of photos enlarged to almost 30 inches wide.
While the majority of the book is dedicated to gratuitous food porn, a good section looks over the techniques, tricks, and gear behind the color-blasted photos. "Conventional food photography for magazines and advterising often relies heavily on tricks, most of which manipulate the food. Turkeys are painted and then lacquered. Produce is sprayed with glycerine. Ice cubes are fashioned from plastic, and so on," the photography section reads. "That isn't the approach we took."
For most of the complete dishes, the photography team simply had the dishes made right before photographing them. "Day after day, our development chefs prepared dishes from the recipes and then handed them off to the photography team. If you really want food to look good in a picture, cook it well and then shoot it immediately."
For photo geeks, the section comes replete with a list of gear necessary to create Modernist Cuisine-worthy images. And while there's plenty of Canon shilling here, according to the book, "In truth, the lenses are almost always more crucial to the quality of the photo than the camera is. 92 percent of the photos (196,000) of the 213,000 images for Modernist Cuisine cookbook, were shot with four lenses... 81 percent were shot with one." The most popular lens: a 24 to 105 mm zoom. The other three necessities: a 180 mm macro, 100 mm macro, and 50 mm macro.