Doughnuts and iced coffee floating through the air. Chili peppers descending upon a hot dog. Melbourne-based photog Cecille Chavez‘s ‘Faux Food’ series is like a trip to the pantry while dreaming (or on acid).

How did Chavez dream up these vibrant, playful photos? Initially, she sought to create a conceptual food series that would be different from the commercial food photography she did everyday. That idea developed into ‘Faux Food,’ a colorful photo series with a darker meaning.

We chatted with Chavez to find out what inspired these stunning junk food images, and how she creates them.

What inspired the Faux Food series?

My first source of inspiration came earlier in the year while watching a video on Jamie Oliver’s 2010 TED talk, Teach every child about food. I was completely horrified by the fact that diet-related diseases were the biggest killer in the United States. Not gun related deaths, not car accidents, not cancer, but diet related disease—which is something that’s preventable.

I was completely horrified by the fact that diet-related diseases were the biggest killer in the United States.

During his talk he states that our children will live, on average, 10 years less than us because of the food we consume (or processed substances we call food). At that moment, I knew what my concept was going to be about and I decided to create a series called Faux Food which photographed snack foods in a surreal setting to represent their content.


What is the process behind creating the images, and how do you make the photos look so surreal?

Once I figured out my lighting set up, most of the work was is in the styling and preparation. Every colour combination and background choice had been carefully considered to complement each other and give a vibrant feel. The items were held up by fishing line and hooks which were edited out in post production.

Are there any artificial foods you love, even if you don’t want to admit it? Like Twinkies or Oreos? 

Overall, our household is quite healthy. We mostly shop at the local organic supermarket and our pantry and fridge are usually stocked full of superfoods, which I consume in my morning smoothies. Although, I can’t lie to you, I do enjoy the occasional bag of potato chips (shhhhhhhh).