Platescapes is a story of life, food, conversation and sharing.
This book is a diary of a very productive and enjoyable period of my life, 1985 to 1995—a story of life, food, conversation, and sharing with family and friends.
One great gift offered as a photographer nurtured by Vogue was to stay at some of the most luxurious resorts and hotels in the world and eat in the very best restaurants. I have been privileged to have been able to enjoy this.
I began PLATESCAPES initially photographing plates after a meal; this work also evolved to include audio recordings of conversations during the dinners. I had no idea at the time that I’d develop this idea over the following years to become part of my oeuvre, exhibiting the work in galleries.
It became a game. The recording of the dinner or lunch conversations became my obsession and my fun and acceptance as such. I always loved the empty plate. I became convinced that the way various people left their finished dinners was a form of analysis of the personality. Still, then again, it could be that they were not particularly hungry that meal. Either way, it was fun and itself became a topic of conversation over these many meals. It became another way for me to connect to my collaborators.
All the photographs were shot on my Leica M6 the old-fashioned way with film, using a 35mm lens with a CU attachment. In most cases, I was exposing these images often in low light situations. All lots of fun getting exposures and focus and holding the damn thing steady. Especially after a couple of bottles of wine.
PLATESCAPES draws upon Piel’s enduring need to get under the skin of his subject, to try and understand and reveal something of their reality. In many ways, PLATESCAPES are wryly curious observations of others; in that respect, these images are portraits as any conventional portrait.
At the heart of this book lies the sheer joy and consolation in the transient, ephemeral nature of coming together to enjoy a meal.
© Ruth MacPherson (artist & curator), 2020