Food Photographer Dhanraj Emanuel Puts His Secrets on the Wall

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Emanuel expresses and resolves his grief by carefully arranging and photographing powdered foods and spices. Above, Himalayan salt tops a bar of Matcha green tea.
Credit Dhanraj Emanuel

After moving to the states, Dhanraj Emanuel craved the Indian dishes of his childhood. He had never cooked before, so he mixed spices by smell to sate his nostalgia.

Emanuel came from a family of photographers, so soon enough the two worlds collided and Emanuel found his way into the field of food photography. Finding commercial success required leveraging food to elicit emotions like desire, FOMO, or comfort. But his new project does just the opposite, starting instead with Emanuel’s experience with overwhelming grief and using photography to deconstruct and make that origin abstract. “Reclaiming” interacts with the symbolic nature of color, texture and form using only powdered foods and spices.

Host Frank Stasio discusses the changing landscape of food photography in the age of social media and organic food with Dhanraj Emanuel, who is also an instructor at Randolph Community College. The exhibit is on view at Revolution Mill in Greensboro through the end of 2019 with a special reception on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.