Claire Dekens

Not just an ordinary potato

26th October 2016

Maybe you’ve already heard about it. A photograph of a potato was sold for over a million dollars. That’s right, one million dollars.
Why is that picture of a potato such a good photograph?

You obviously have some technical (objective) criteria that you can judge upon. Is the light well in the picture? Does the curve appear beautiful? Can you feel the texture of the peel? Can you feel how the earth crumbles between your fingers, just by watching it?

Since it is about art, you also have the subjective assessment. What kind of feeling does this picture give  you? Can you smell the earth of the potato field? Do you think of the weathered hands of the potato farmer who’s hard work (although this is no longer manual labor)  ensures that this potato is on your plate? Does the picture have a political or social significance such as The Basket of Bread of Dali? Is the picture suggesting solitude with the isolated subject on the black background?

You may  wonder why the photographer even photographed that potato? Was it the shape of a potato that inspired him, like the form of peppers inspired Edward Weston? The photographer claims to have  photographed a lot of potatoes before he made the famous picture.

It will always remain a mystery why some photos are sold at such a high price. Is it really a good shot or is it really good marketing? The photographer has scored well at least on one of these two points.

Just to be clear, the picture accompanying this article is NOT the expensive sold potato. One potato is not the other …

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Itsy Bitsy Spider
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Diner is often late
One of the downsides while engaging in food photography is that distraction is never far away. It often happens that, when I am busy preparing dinner, I get fascinated by the color, shape or texture of the ingredients.

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