Discover more from Wordloaf
Photobook Recommendation: Jason Fulford's 'The ❤️ is a Sandwich'
Where bread and photography collide
It’s not often that I get to combine my love for photography and bread here. I’m not referring here to pictures of bread, which I enjoy making, but which don’t fully scratch the photography itch for me. Before I was thrust headlong into a full-time gig writing and thinking about bread 24/7 in 2020, I fancied myself a serious (amateur) photographer of people and landscapes, a pastime I’ve mostly had to let fall by the wayside for lack of time. Maybe once the book is done I’ll get back to it. In the meantime, I still try to follow the work of other photographers whose work I admire.
One of them is Jason Fulford, whose latest book The Heart is a Sandwich was released by Mack earlier this year. Fulford is a New York-based photographer who creates mysterious, open-ended photographic “stories” through the juxtaposition of images, some abstract, some representative. He’s the author of dozens of books, many of which he has collaborated on with his wife Tamara Shopsin, a writer and graphic designer (and the daughter of the late Kenny Shopsin, of famed NYC restaurant Shopsin’s General Store).
One of my favorite books is their This Equals That, a sequence of images linked together by color, shape, and number to create a whimsical and humorous hopscotch of associations. It’s ostensibly a picture book for children to teach them about visual language and association (and it is that), but it’s also a delightful book for grown-ups, which is why it is my go-to gift for new parents, who usually fall in love with it long before their new child is old enough to do anything other than gnaw on books. Fulford and Shopsin have also collaborated on the photography and design for numerous cookbooks, among them Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin, Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts, and Lucky Peach: All About Eggs.
The Heart is a Sandwich is a collection of twelve photographic “short stories” made during Fulford’s many trips to Italy. Here’s how Fulford describes the book and the logic behind it:
“Hopefully, they all represent a specific feeling”, says Fulford when I ask him to guide me through the book’s logic. “Coriandoli is purely aesthetic. Metamorfosi is literally a documentary of an experience that I had. The Heart is a Sandwich is personal, and a little abstract. I really like them for multiple, changing reasons. It’s kind of like in life, you wake up each day with a different balance of emotions, and logic. I hope that the book represents these ways of being - in a way, the various selves that you have within you”.
The series “Metamorfosi” is a visual tale of bread as art and bread being made into art. It begins with a document of the production of coppia ferrarese, an ancient spiraled and knotted bread from the province of Ferrara that is said to pay homage to the curly tresses of Lucrezia Borgia, at the bakery Panificio Perdonati. (One image, of a burly, gruff-looking baker, is accompanied by the caption, “Jason? Like Halloween?” The following image caption reads: “Don’t give this guy a knife.”) After that, we witness the bread being used by artisans to form a clay cast in order to make a bronze replica of it. I wasn’t able to get permission to share the images from “Metamorfosi” here, but I made a short flip book video of the entire sequence:
The Heart is a Sandwich is a wonderful book, one that any lover of photography, art, and bread will want to add to their collection.