I've shot popcorn a few times now, and there's one thing that makes it really interesting as a subject... but I'll get to that in a minute.
I'm a big fan of films (who isn't?). I love everything from slow, thoughtful stories, to blockbuster action, from subtitled pieces, to book adaptations. I've always enjoyed getting swept up by a new experience, and there are some that I come back to again and again, when I crave the familiar. But in recent years, there's something else, too.
Since I started studying photography, I'm no longer just watching a film... I'm observing it.
Luckily, this doesn't take away from my enjoyment. I say luckily because, well, it's not something I can turn off. Every shot, lighting decision, camera movement or focal length choice, I'm asking myself either how, or why it was done. Learning photography has opened the lid on cinematography for me, and I can never look at movies the same way again.
Food, you might be interested to know, is the same way.
When you photograph food, you have to look at it differently. Because reducing a tactile, scented, three dimensional object of primal desire into a collection of dots on a screen... well, something is lost. Partly, this is because there's a big difference between the food we eat every day, and our internal idea of what that food looks like.
For example, close your eyes and think of an apple. Now go find a real apple... It's not the same thing. Apples come in all shapes and sizes, yet we tend to have one particular version of it in our head. There could be a book written about why this is, but for the moment, think about what this means for a photographer. If I want to take a picture of an apple, and for you to look at it and say "yep, that's an apple alright", I need to match, as close as I can, the image that you have in your head. I need to go from shop to shop, and find the most appley apple around. Otherwise, the image becomes about HOW the apple looks, rather than simply that there IS an apple.
And that's where popcorn comes in...
Each time I've needed to shoot a piece of popcorn, I've had to ask myself... what the heck does popcorn look like?!