Behind the scenes: “Night. Time. Vegetation.”

During my portrait class at Art Center, my instructor told us to take picture of a vegetable.  Immediately, I knew I wanted to shoot broccoli.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always associated the appearance of broccoli to trees.  

First, I needed to prop that sucker up and create some sort of base or landscape.  So, I commandeered my son’s Kinetic Sand kit and went to town sculpting and smushing while the kids slept soundly in their beds. 

(When the kid’s away, the mom will play! :)  

I wasn’t sure how to capture this, here, broccoli so that it’s recognizable as a tree rather that it’s true vegetable form.  I played around a while with the dark, (tripped over the tripod a couple of times) lit some candles, then flashlights, then dome lights. Nope. Nope. Nope. There was still too much light.  I needed to control the light in order to create the illusion of moonlight. So, I decided to experiment by localizing the light by combining two things; rolled up white paper (in a skinny funnel shape) and portable dome light.  

And there I was in the middle of the dark, holding a rolled up funnel with dome light balancing at the end of it - I aimed the end of the funnel towards the top of the broccoli.. and very carefully pushed the remote trigger for an 11 second exposure.

Only several takes later.. Voila!  We have a moonlight over Joshua Tree.  :)

“Night. Time. Vegetation.” 

When I was young, my mother would always cook broccoli for me. She’d say, “Jenny, eat your vegetables.” Then I would pick one up from my plate, hold it up and say, “They’re not vegetables, they’re trees and I’m a giant!”
My mom worked hard as a single parent and always made sure her family had food on the table. Broccoli was easy for her to prepare after a long day’s work and she knew I enjoyed playing make believe with each delicious bite. I decided to photograph broccoli under a different light, through the eyes of my younger self. Trees are known for their strength and life giving properties. This photograph is a symbol of my mother’s strength and love for me.
Linus Gallery, Pasadena, CA -  REALISM Art Exhibition, July 2015 

Online exhibit: 


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