The MiniMiam Series

Who hasn't dreamt of diving in thick chocolate mousse?

The MiniMiam Series

If you’re playing with your mashed potatoes at dinner, it’s a safe bet you’re socially uncomfortable or preoccupied by something. Unless, of course, you’re with Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida, in which case you’re probably helping them craft their next work of art. Their MINIMIAM series uses fruit, vegetables, and sweets as the edible backdrops for surprisingly engaging dramas played out by figurines like those used in model train sets.

“This scale is really interesting as it allows you to work in the very small,” says Javelle. “The size of the figurines is perfect for creating surprising scenes with very ordinary elements.” The food often provides inspiration for the wide variety of cleverly crafted scenes the married couple composes. The surface of a sprinkled donut becomes a rolling golf course, the innards of a gourd an alien landscape with a healthy dash of Ridley Scott. Other times, the figures fuel the idea. “For example, one of first images is a figurine of a man with a mower mowing, which gave us the urge to cut a kiwi,” says Javelle, “especially since a new breed of hairless kiwi appeared at our super market!”

The series, which began in 2002, includes more than 60 diptychs. The first of each pair shows a close crop on a strange or funny scene playing out on unfamiliar terrain. The second image zooms out to reveal its culinary context, often inspiring a chuckle through a watering mouth. The figurines are 1/87 scale — the popular HO model train scale — purchased from hobby shops. “They are about 1.2 cm (0.47 inches) tall, and it would be very difficult for us to manufacture the figures with the detail you see in our images,” says Javelle.

In addition to using food photography as means of expression and entertainment, the pair behind MINIMIAM also have successful careers as commercial photographers of cuisine. Even as veterans of the trade, and with their art sitting on the plate, the urge to take a bite can be pretty hard to resist. “Often when I place a figure next to a big piece of cake chocolate, I have a furious desire to become the figure,” says Javelle. “But I would definitely have a very upset stomach afterwards.”

photo© Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida // text by Raw File

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