The Science of Food Photography

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Barbecue by Ryan Matthew Smith1 The Science of Food Photography

We touched on Nathan Myhrvold’s cookbook in this blog post, but thought the subject deserved revisiting – especially now that we’ve learned what an interesting road Myhrvold took to get where he is today.

Myhrvold was most recently chief technology officer at Microsoft, but he’s also been a wildlife photographer, champion barbeque chef, and volcano explorer. Now Myhrvold has turned his talents and his insatiable curiosity towards his lifelong interest in food to create his six-volume, 2,400-pages-long opus, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

Diagrammed Burger by Ryan Matthew Smith1 The Science of Food Photography

At $625, the six-volume, self-published set is akin to a cooking course with a master. Where else can you find a cookbook with chapters on gels and foams (the darlings of modernist cuisine), or get a photographic diagram of the perfect cheeseburger (don’t forget to smoke the lettuce).

Liquids by Ryan Matthew Smith1 The Science of Food Photography

But for us, what really sets this work apart is Ryan Matthew Smith’s photography. To say he’s broken new ground is an understatement. Smith has done everything from bisecting a burning barbeque to show you exactly how a flame cooks a burger, to cutting a pot in half to show the bubble and boil of a wok in use. It’s mind-blowing stuff.

Lobster by Ryan Matthew Smith The Science of Food Photography

And for those of us mere mortals who can’t dissect our Weber grills to get the shot, here are a few hints to help record our own culinary adventures. So go for it: that cookbook of yours is bound to be delicious.

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