Harvey Benge – Eat Me

Review by Douglas Stockdale

At first reading, Havery Benge’s self-published Eat Me, is a photobook that documents the results of cooking peaches as a family treat. It even includes the recipe for cooking the peaches.

In typical Benge style, there is a minimum of text to provide guidance as to what you are viewing. In this case, a series of color abstract photographs that might be peach halves that have recently cooked. The subject is made a little more abstract by placing it on a black background that also appears to accentuate the deep colors. Likewise this is not a normal cookbook illustration as the external context to a kitchen or serving plate is not established. The flat lighting continues to abstract his subjects, which does not provide any modeling to provide depth, roundness or weigh. Nevertheless, there is some hint of texture.

Thus with his subject disassociated from any external context, the viewer is free to construct their own meanings and memories with these photographs. For my take, let’s just say that his photographs could be a Freudian equivalence to one of Edward Weston’s shell photographs that emulates the female form. Which would be very much in keeping with Benge’s Auckland sense of humor.

And although Benge recommends vanilla ice cream, I would suggest that it should be a French vanilla ice cream. yum.

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Eat Me – Harvey Benge

Photographer; Harvey Benge born and passing, Auckland, NZ

Self-Published, FAQ Editions, copyright 2010

Text: English, recipe for cooked peaches

Stiff cover book, saddle stitch binding, printed in color. In an edition of 75 signed and numbered copies.

Design: Harvey Benge

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