Just Desserts

A Masterchef and a Master Photographer: Hollywood-inspired Pastry Dioramas that are Far from Half Baked

Nicolas Knepper’s grandmother once told him he’d grow up to be a pastry chef. Nicolas had other ideas. After getting a degree in engineering, he worked for five years in video game design. But his grandmother’s words were perhaps more prophetic than they first appeared. His latest series of photographs Hollyfood juxtaposes gruesome movie and TV scenes with the sweetest of desserts in charming miniature form.

“It all started 3 years ago when my wife won Masterchef,” Nicolas recalls. “She asked me to take some pictures of her pastry creations. I discovered that there was always a story (sometimes a kind a fairytale) behind the name of each pastry or dessert. So, experimented with ways to build stories around them, and as I’m a movie fan, reference my favourite films such as Kill Bill, Star Wars and Jaws…”

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The series has been a huge success and now it even sports its own exhibition at an art gallery in Luxembourg.

We spoke to Nicolas about these unique creations:

The Plus: How would you describe this, is it a hobby or is it a professional endeavour?
Nicolas Knepper:
I started this series as a hobby and I always take a lot of pleasure creating a new setup. Then, last year I started to make some exhibitions with them and more and more people are asking me to buy my pictures. So now, I have a professional status and it’s a kind of new challenge for me.

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TP: What’s your favourite piece from the Hollyfood series?
NK:
They’re like my children, I cannot choose one! May be Baking Bad is a little special because I’m really a fan of the original series….and I managed to find a link with crystal sugar/crystal meths.
Pastry is always associated with sweetness, beauty and happiness…so, I really wanted to ‘break the rules’ and make some setups with blood, serial killers and monsters: I like this kind of paradox.

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TP: Is this an ongoing project?
NK:
Yes absolutely, I have a lot of ideas.First it was a passion, now it’s an obsession. Every time I watch a movie, a TV show, or read a book, I’m thinking ‘What can I do with that?’

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TP: Other than films and food, what else gets you excited and inspired?
NK:
Pictures of Helmut Newton did have such an effect on me. When I discovered his pictures (I was young), it made me want to do photography. I also find a lot of inspiration in Fritz Kahn works and also in old US advertising from the 50’s.

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TP: What should we expect next from you?
NK:
I’d really like to work on some portraits because each time it’s a way to discover someone new, I sometimes I really miss that when I’m working with my figures. So, my next series will be maybe feature people…with food!

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Nicolas Knepper’s exhibition is at Celina Gallery, Luxembourg until 3
September 2015.