Cooking is an exercise in precision. Even once you get the hang of things and start to forego recipes for intuition, you still need a level of innate exactitude for your dishes to come out just right. Danish photographer Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj captures this sentiment with his collection of pristine still life images of meticulously arranged ingredients before they’re made into meals.
Shot on assignment for the cookware company Eva Solo, the photos in Hvilshøj’s series depict carefully segmented vegetables, lines of seafood and piles of measured-out spices floating above the company’s pots and pans. Laid out neatly against a bright pastel background, the images are so crisp and ordered that even the most OCD home cook will be slightly suspicious. “[For Bouillabaisse] you’re supposed to just chop up the fish and throw it in the pot. I had clean it up in photoshop afterwards—when I cut it up, the gut fell out and it wasn’t too pretty,” says Hvilshøj. “They’re meant to be an inspiration.” Some ingredients were increased and others were removed to make for a better photo, but each dish is paired with the pot that is ideal for their preparation.
Hvilshøj shot all of the images in his studio against a grey backdrop using a Swedish Hasselblad camera (the type of camera used to capture the Apollo mission) with a digital back. They’re all cropped in a square, readymade for adding to the company’s Instagram account. Think what you will about Instagram food photos, but we’d love to come across Hvilshøj’s images on our feed any day.