We at Heather Elder Represents gravitate towards artists that are creative thinkers. It is not enough to just execute on a brief. Our artists excel at bringing their own beliefs and values to the project and in turn create environments on and off set where creative magic can happen. For this project, Lupine Hammack created that magic by marrying chemistry, imagination, and transformation.
We feel it’s crucial to understand how and why our artists work in the way they do. We spoke to Lupine and Creative Partner Sarah James about their latest “Jello Theory” work, inquiring about alchemy in action. Here is what they said.
The Jello Theory series provides a peek behind the curtain at how the principles of alchemy guide your creative process. First, why did you choose Jello in particular?
While shooting a different exploration, we noticed right away that the Jello in one of the shots was doing something really beautiful, and we couldn’t quite put our finger on what it was. Feeling inspired, we started to talk about how we could take a product as elemental as Jello and create something unexpected. The visual complexity of Jello was intriguing, and its simplicity lent itself to transformation. We were also just excited to create and play with all of the colors, shapes, and opacities possible.
What was the objective of creating this project?
Our objective for this project was twofold; we wanted to challenge the norms and perceptions of food photography and demystify what we mean by alchemy and its role in our work. We’re into creating unexpected visuals that question conformity and that encourage the viewer to pause and imagine.
Why the name “Jello Theory?”
The concept of color theory was the guiding principle to explore Jello, hence the name “Jello Theory.” It was the basis for creating custom colors and informed the color combinations throughout the series.
Can you talk about the spectrum of approaches you explored before getting to the finished product? What did you learn from each approach?
We went into this project with an open mind. We knew that blending color theory with a product like Jello was going to allow for a lot of experimenting. With each approach, we learned a little bit more about what color theory and Jello mixed together could look like in all of its different forms.
Understanding the elements we’re working with is important to our process and where we often find unexpected inspiration. So into the lab we went to get to know Jello better.
We explored formulas, ages, temperatures, colors, consistencies, textures, dyes, sizes, shapes, backgrounds — you get the idea.
Alchemy is all about combining simple elements to transform them into something magical. In this way, our work is made stronger every time we continue to explore new approaches until each element of the shot feels like it has arrived. You can look at Jello No. 4, and see the many different approaches we took, each one informing the next.
You are visual storytellers with your imagery. This time around, you added written stories to accentuate the visuals. What was the thinking behind this light-hearted expression? From where did the stories originate?
We are fascinated with the power of suggestion; our visuals rely on it for impact. When we add language in, even just a word, we can suggest much more than with either format alone. Really, the words and the visuals are two interpretations of the same thought. Every visual we make has a story, and every story that we think of can produce a visual. With this series we wrote stories about what we saw in the visuals as an invitation to the viewer to make up their own.
How do you pull other people into this alchemic environment?
With our brand and our teams, we champion inclusivity, positivity, and collaboration. Anyone we interact with in person, on zoom, or who pops up in our email is a part of it. We value diversity in all forms; we listen to and respect one another, encouraging creative innovation. We talk a lot about an alchemic environment, and it’s not that any individual element makes it that way — it’s all of them together.
Follow Lupine on Instagram for more imagery questioning the norms and prompting people to imagine.