Beautiful Vegetable Portraits: Lynn Karlin’s Pedestal Series

Originally posted on Mother Earth News by Laura Dell-Haro.

Simply Raw 2016 wall calendar

Image from the Simply Raw 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Gardeners are inspired to grow their own vegetables for a variety of reasons: food purity, food security, family and cultural traditions, fresh flavors, stress relief, improved nutrition, and many more. Our tomatoes grow sweet with lip-smacking flavor, but also heavy with intent and purpose.

Certainly, identifying your own incentives is critical to making it through the darkness of winter, flush of spring weeds, and stifling summer heat to, ultimately, the bounty of the harvest season. In the elegant vegetable portraits presented on these pages, photographer Lynn Karlin brings an oft-overlooked motivation to light: reverence for beauty.

These works are part of “The Pedestal Series,” in which Karlin, quite literally, elevates the harvest. With an eye attuned to elegance where most people see utility, she ratifies the radish and champions the cabbage.

The project started with a rather innocent (but much maligned) vegetable: cauliflower. “Most people don’t really look at, or see beauty in, vegetables,” Karlin says. “At the local farmers market, I became entranced by a purple cauliflower still encased in its stalks and leaves. I brought it home, placed it up high on a white pedestal by an east-facing window, and photographed it.”

Karlin’s models are unique — and not only because of their species. She seldom retouches the produce. “I photograph the vegetables as soon as I get back to the studio. They are as I found them — hours from harvest.” Seven years and 100-plus vegetable portraits later, Karlin still finds the project engaging.“It’s a simple way to express my commitment to local, sustainable agriculture and to celebrate the seasons.”

Whether you’re a potato-based philosopher or a hoe-handling utilitarian, let these vegetable portraits serve as a simple reminder: Grow with gratitude and honor the small wonders of your garden and harvest.

Award-winning garden and food photographer Lynn Karlin lives in Belfast, Maine, and often discovers models at her local farmers markets. Her pedestal portraits are available as limited-edition prints online, and in her 2016 Simply Raw calendar from Amber Lotus Publishing. MOTHER EARTH NEWS editor Laura Dell-Haro studies and writes about the domestic and wild fruits growing in her Great Plains gardens.

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Simply Raw 2016 wall calendar


Stir-Up Sunday

Messages from Your Angels by Doreen Virtue

Image from our Messages from Your Angels 2016 wall calendar featuring words of wisdom from Doreen Virtue. Click image for more info.

In England, the last Sunday before Advent is called Stir-Up Sunday, a name derived from the first words of the Collect that is read in church on that day: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.”

These words were creatively applied as an injunction to start making the Christmas puddings and pies, which folklore says should be stirred clockwise with a wooden spoon, with all family members taking a turn in this order: mother, father, children, and visitors. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Dietmar Voorwold: Creations In Nature

Land Art creations by Dietmar Voorwold

Images from our Land Art 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Each year we showcase a different artist in our Land Art wall calendar. The emphasis of using materials from nature and creating installations in nature is consistent among all of these talented artists. But the materials they choose and the themes they explore are as diverse as the splendor of nature itself. Sally J. Smith was our featured artist for 2015, when the calendar explored her ice sculptures, twig architecture, and leaf and flower mandalas. Sally also builds faerie houses for a living!

For 2016 we’re honored to present the work of Dietmar Voorwold, which shows harmonious palettes of light and color and seems to defy gravity. He spends much of his time along the coasts and rivers of northern Scotland, where, sometimes in the course of a single day, nature moves through the spectrum of color, light, and weather, creating a lively spectacle throughout the sky and in the interplay with the earth. “It’s a matter of finding the balance,” he says. “The perfect place, the perfect material, the perfect shape. The right moment. There’s always a chance that the sculpture will collapse, the incoming tide will come too early, the light will change too quickly, a dog will step over my mosaics.” Photography is another important aspect of his art. This is how he freezes a brief moment. The actual installation will be gone within a few days or even minutes, depending on the rhythms of nature. The never-ending coming and going, the creating and letting go, the transitoriness and changeability in nature are charming aspects of his artwork.

In response to the photo challenge, Dietmar’s exquisite sense of balance and observational skills are a sublime example of being Careful. Continue reading

Farm to Table: Then and Now

Image from our Farm to Table 2016 wall calendar featuring recipes and tips from Ann Lovejoy. Click image for more info.

Image from our Farm to Table 2016 wall calendar featuring recipes and tips from Ann Lovejoy. Click image for more info.

From the Farm to Table 2016 wall calendar by Ann Lovejoy — A hundred years ago, more Americans lived on farms than in cities. Most food was locally grown, and seasonal foods were enjoyed fresh or not at all. As food-preserving methods improved, our fascination with convenience took us to dubious depths of overprocessing. After decades of fast food and speedy dining, Americans hungered for a new relationship with food. Today we have come full circle. Inspired by Italy’s Slow Food movement, we prize the local and the sustainable, the authentic and the handcrafted. What’s more, America’s changing demographics have enormously enriched our dining choices with international flair. Continue reading