My mind immediately went to a memory from back in college when I watched one of my roommates peeling a kiwi fruit with a knife. He didn’t take the peel off in little bits, as I would have, but instead made a long, unbroken strip of peel from start to finish. If I asked him about it today I doubt he’d remember this thoughtless act. But for some strange reason it made an indelible impression on me: the slow, deliberate care he took as he drew the knife towards his thumb, and the way he rolled the fruit in his hand, the bright green of the kiwi flesh against the taupe brown of the skin. Sometimes being a good artist means being observant of some of the most simple details of life: movement, color, texture, light. The most elegant and basic things in the world are also the easiest to miss.
With a long, unbroken piece of orange rind the idea hit me in an instant. I set up a green backdrop, placed the orange and peel just so and then went to my archive of figures. It just so happened that I had a figure with a lawnmower and the gauge of the mower seemed to perfectly fit the width of the channel of rind and pith.
Out came the tripod, a camera body and a lens. Using natural window light and a reflector I made 64 frames in the span of about 10 minutes until I worked through a range of apertures and had the image I wanted. Sometimes I’ll spend a few hours working in the studio and in that time I’ll do a few different images. Or I might shoot one set-up a few different ways. On occasion, once I import the digital images into my computer and begin the editing process I’ll be unhappy with what I have, or I’ll see a mistake that wasn’t so obvious. So I’ll go back and do reshoots. Every photograph has its own process so it is difficult to say what the average time is. I also don’t keep track of the time spent shooting so most of my answers about that metric are always a best guess. (I’ve always been a terrible judge of time). But one thing is for sure, Zesty Mower happened quickly and came to me without much trouble.