Photography > Metamorphosis, or the Transformaton of Flesh & Bones into Simple Sugars

As I walked through the supermarket my eyes gazed over all the products on the shelves--many of them loaded with sugar. The phrase "you are what you eat" came to mind. Our household consumes way too much sugar and I decided I would borrow that phrase and create the image of someone who has begun the transformation of turning into the very foods she consumes.

This series was created for EBSQ's "Food Porn" exhibition, and while the definition of Food Porn varies depending on where you look, for the purpose of this exhibition I transformed my model into the very food we were celebrating with that day. We decided to take all our leftover Halloween and Christmas candy, do this photo shoot, eat whatever we felt like eating at that moment, then dump the leftovers in the trash so we could embark on a healthier lifestyle.

Because I have passed my ridiculously large sweet tooth onto my daughter, I chose to use sweets as a way convey a message--it is so easy to succumb to wonderful, colorful candies and beautifully packaged boxes of cereal full of high-fructose corn syrup. I have some health concerns that make it necessary to curb that appetite and I thought this candy-purging session would be a good first step.

My daughter, Ella, is the model and I chose to alter her eyes in order to make them blend in with all the colors surrounding her. I wanted these images to be as bright and vivid as possible, and the eye color also gives more of an illusion of her becoming part of the pile of sweets which, in turn, adds to the impact of the borrowed phrase.

I created an outfit using a bathing suit that I glued Cap'n Crunch crunchberries onto. I created the straps and the middle section using fruit-flavored Twizzlers. Ella is wearing candy necklaces around her neck and wrist, and her lips and face are adorned with colorful, sugary hundreds and thousands (nonpareils). I used Photoshop to change her eye color, and used 5 different shades of eyeshadow around her eyes to add color, and for a more convincing metamorphosis.

I laid out a white sheet over a string of fairy lights (to add shimmer and more color) and that is where we really had fun. I sprinkled Ella with gourmet jelly beans, pixie sticks, hundreds & thousands, Starburst, and more crunchberries. I used the crumbs at the bottom of the box of cereal in her hair (as well as hundreds and thousands). After I shot the photos, we picked through all the sweets and had a little candy-eating ceremony before wrapping up all the sweets in the sheet and dumping them out. Ella still had hundreds and thousands in her ears later that day, despite washing her hair twice.

In this image we chose to use the apple Ella bought at school a week earlier and never ate. That apple sat on the table day after day, untouched, while plenty of M&M's, ice-cream, Tootsie Rolls, and chocolates were consumed instead. I got the idea of this sugar enriched girl who was so full of sugar that just one bite of something healthy would completely alter her metabolism and render her unconscious--or worse, death by nourishment, which is all meant to be totally tongue-in-cheek and the apple actually happened to be the only fruit we had on hand while shooting.

I hope you will find these images as fun as we do--we sure had fun making them.

Digital Photography