Break/Fast: Clever Food Photography by Tessa Dóniga Johnson

There’s more to food photography than mouth-watering close-ups and Instagram-worthy flat-lay shots!

While the primary goal of food photography is to trigger our cravings and make our mouths water, it can also create powerful messages and convey playful ideas. A perfect example is Break/Fast, an ingenious project by Tessa Dóniga Johnson and her studio, Fragmento Universo. If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box approach to food photography, we’re sure you’ll want to dig into this!

In an interview with gestalten, the Madrid-based photographer and art director shared how this brilliant project was brought to life through a collaboration with Polpettas Magazine. Her idea was to deconstruct “breakfast” and create literal interpretations of the word. “Rather than stick to the conventional still life format, ‘Break/Fast’ is an abstract and absurd work conceived from literally the appropriation of the composition in the word ‘break’ from ‘breakfast,'” Tessa noted in her project description. “The series is a collection of challenging, funny, absurd visuals transformed into surreal compositions.”

Indeed, we see a variety of playful situations where typical breakfast items are hacked, sliced, shattered, toasted, and cut in different ways. Flat iron-toasted pancakes, anyone? Axed bread is in; sliced bread is out. Need some spreadable butter? A blow dryer on max heat will do the trick. We bet you’ll never see a morning meal the same way after this!

This approach challenges the way we look at food and how it serves as a storytelling element. It certainly goes beyond getting mouth-watering snaps that grace the covers of food magazines or collect likes on Instagram. The series is also a great example of a smart concept meeting equally clever execution. The storyboard and behind the scene photos are a testament to that!

Tessa Dóniga Johnson has many other projects that show her creative approach to food photography. Go ahead and check out her Behance portfolio and website to see more of her work!


All photos by Tessa Dóniga Johnson. Used with Creative Commons permission.