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View: ‘Chiaroscuro’ the new creative food photo style

This is Chiaroscuro styling: Table setting ©Justina Ramanauskiene FoodStock

According to the food photo creatives at stock photo library StockFood “Chiaroscuro” is a new visual language currently captivating the food photography industry.
The founder of the artistic term “Chiaroscuro” is the Italian painter Caravaggio, who in the 16th century introduced a new and more realistic pictorial design through the use of light and dark painting.

They say: ‘The food photos in the photography style “Chiaroscuro” look like magnificent still lifes of old masters. The term comes from the Italian and is a composition of the words “chiaro” for bright and clear and “scuro” for dark. The strong contrast of light and shadow creates a highly dramatic atmosphere. In the foreground stands irrefutably the food, which is moved by the light into an exposed position. The light is inserted like a cone frontally or from above and directs the view directly to the dish or an ingredient. The painters set the bright accents at that time as if the light fell through an open side window. This is exactly what food photographers try to imitate.The atmosphere is supported by props in dark and subdued colours, vintage and a bit rustic. This makes the arrangement very authentic and honest. The whole thing is placed against a dark background. In this way, the characteristic light-dark contrast is achieved, which is typical of the new imagery.’

Another Chiaroscuro example ©FoodStock

Trend expert Petra Thierry of the Photographers & Art Department at StockFood sees this as one of the greatest strengths of the new imagery: “this style is very familiar to most, as they remember the painted still lifes.  It also meets high artistic and aesthetic standards, which is important on Instagram and Co. That’s why Chiaroscuro has become a true social media favorite.” Thierry names Russian bloggers Anna Ivanova and Justina Ramanauskiene from Lithuania, Spanish photographer Victor P. Torres, as key figures in the new style from the StockFood photographer pool Photographers of Picture Pantry.

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