Modernist Cuisine: The Wok Shot

Wok Cutaway primary.jpg

With stunning images like this, you'd think that computers and Photoshop played a huge role in the production of the artwork from Modernist Cuisine. You'd be wrong.

The majority of the photos in the book were shot on a Canon 5D Mark II by Ryan Matthew Smith, a just-out-of-art school photographer from Seattle. The photo studio is surprisingly low-tech, given the incredible shots they achieved—it's nothing more than a few cloth backdrops, and a couple of large studio flashes

So how did they get a shot of noodles being tossed in half a wok? Easy. "We cut a wok in half and tossed noodles in it," explains Nathan Myhrvold, the man behind the 2,400 page book. The result was many messes (they lined the photo studio with plastic), a couple of fires, a few burns, and the awesome shot you see above (click on it for a larger view).

Like many of the photos in the book, these types of shots explain how traditional cooking techniques work far better than almost any instructional tool I've seen.

More Modernist Cuisine