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Food Photographer Dhanraj Emanuel Puts Secrets on the Wall

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.
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.
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
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.

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 comes from a family of photographers. 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. Host Frank Stasio speaks with photographer Dhanraj Emanuel about food photography.

The project is an expression of Emanuel’s experience with overwhelming grief. He uses 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.

Copyright 2019 North Carolina Public Radio

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Grant Holub-Moorman is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina.