The genesis of my Big Appetites series of fine art photographs was in a lot of the media I was exposed to as a child. There were so many films and television shows that exploited both the dramatic and comedy potential of a juxtaposition of different scales: tiny people in a normal-sized world. It is a surprisingly common cultural theme going back all the way to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels in the 18th century and perhaps earlier.
I think it is especially resonant with children because as a child you live in an adult world that is out of scale with your body and proportions. And you constantly exercise your imagination around a world of toys that are further out of scale. As a child I was an avid collector of Matchbox cars, a model railroader and a builder of models (cars, ships and airplanes) and also girder and panel sets (small structures). I was fascinated, as many children and adults are, with tiny, meticulously detailed things.
When I began shooting some of the very earliest images in this series around 2003, food was a conscious choice as one of the components of the work as it can be very beautiful – in terms of texture and color – especially when shot with available light and macro lenses. Combining what are essentially food and toys makes the work instantly accessible to virtually everyone. Regardless of language, culture and social status, almost everyone can identify with toys from their childhood.
Whether you eat with a fork, chopsticks or your hands, everyone understands food. Sitting down to a meal makes us feel most human. The sensual experience of eating accesses primal instincts that stretch back to the earliest days of our evolution. Whether we are reflecting on the comfort food of childhood, celebrating food’s tremendous diversity, or obsessing over calories and nutrition, cuisine is one of those rare topics that most people can speak about with authority and yet largely without controversy. So the choice of food as a backdrop of the environments of the Big Appetites series was certainly calculated. It is rich subject matter for artwork.