Micro the Macro or Macro the Micro ….

Celebrating Details AND the Big Picture

Last Friday, after taking micro pictures for video 11, I was struck by lightning insights that have caused me to adjust my micro-macro project. At first, I thought I would stop the micro play all together, however, after consideration I believe I just need to adjust the focus on my lens. The food artistry of one of our local chefs taught me that it’s all about balancing perception and perspective, between the micro and macro.

During our afternoon visit at one of our favourite places in Comox, the Filberg Summer Kitchen run by Marc-Andre Dubois of Dubois Food Co., much to the annoyance of Andrew, I proceeded to take micro pictures with my portable hybrid micro camera. Through experimentation I’ve found some new efficient strategies resulting in slight improvements in obtaining more detailed close-up pictures, however, trying to focus and remain steady, while getting the right angle even using a camera stand is difficult and frustrating. Andrew repeatedly was giving me a stern look saying, “Mom, come on, put your toys away!” (Hmm are the parent-child tables reversing as I age!)

Upon the recommendation of Sam, the exceptionally knowledgeable server, we ordered a delicious bottle of Beaufort Borealis white wine and two dishes to share, the steamed clams with fennel and herbs and the vegetarian special which featured roasted broccoli and peas and many other delicate herbs and vegetables. The steamed clams were so delicious. Andrew was spooning up the broth like soup. I couldn’t get enough of the delicately tasty fennel. The plating of the vegetarian dish was so colourful and balanced, in of itself it would pass as a food art masterpiece. The flavours in the dish were distinctive yet complemented each other to create a magnificent gastronomical experience. Andrew, (a sommelier with two credentials and celebrated carnivore) closed his eyes, licked his lips and reflected that this was one of the most delicious vegetarian dishes he has ever enjoyed. We finished the meal savouring the wine while Sam shared with us his incredible knowledge of local spirits and the art of creating cocktails. Definitely this is a place to eat this summer!

Arriving home, I was preparing the video, setting up the micro collages. It is at this moment that lightning struck! These micro photos, although more detailed than when I first started the video project, were looking pretty much the same as other micro photos I had taken at the beach, shopping, in the forest and at other food locations. I was disappointed thinking, here I am trying to note the fine details of these adventures, but the photos are all looking the same. I reflected on the creativity of the meals we have enjoyed at the Filberg Summer Kitchen, specifically the attention to colour, varying textures and balance of form. These micro photos were not doing justice to these food masterpieces and the tremendous skills of the imaginative chefs at Dubois Food Co. Yes, I do believe that at a cellular level that micro pictures celebrate the unique beautiful finite detail of our world. Yet, to mine down that far in detailed perspective requires highly specialized equipment. I realized for my project that clear close-up photos can display the unique detail, without reducing everything to looking alike. Some distance was needed to gain perspective. What was the lesson? I was trying too hard to achieve something that was reducing everything to the same look. Moreover, the perfection of the food prepared by Marc-Andre is that the attention to the fine detailing needs to be appreciated by absorbing the artistry of the whole dish.

Hmmm, connecting the dots in my kindergarten teacher way, there’s a lesson for love, and life: Maybe we need to balance while ‘micro-ing’ the macro or ‘macro-ing’ the micro as we celebrate details and the big picture.

Quick Take Away Links:

Five Star Food Artistry

Local Winery