The Photographer’s Cookbook

The Photographer’s Cookbook


In the late 1970s, the George Eastman Museum approached a group of photographers to ask for their favorite recipes and food-related photographs to go with them, in pursuit of publishing a cookbook. The recipes do not disappoint, with Robert Adams’ Big Sugar Cookies, Ansel Adams’ Poached Eggs in Beer, Richard Avedon’s Royal Pot Roast, Imogen Cunningham’s Borscht, William Eggleston’s Cheese Grits Casserole, Stephen Shore’s Key Lime Pie Supreme and Ed Ruscha’s Cactus Omelette, to name a few. The book was never published, and the materials have remained in George Eastman Museum’s collection ever since. Nearly 40 years later, this extensive and distinctive archive of untouched recipes and photographs was published in The Photographer’s Cookbook for the first time.

We went down two quite distinct research paths when working on this book, both of them part and parcel of 1970s North America, which we brought together in our design concept. On the one hand, the era’s cookbooks provided us with a universe in which formidable typeface choices rubbed shoulders with questionable still lives and strong colours. We typeset the text in a font echoing some of these quirky vernacular letterforms, while the layout echoed the kind of ephemera outputted on a typewriter. Providing a cool relief to these, the late 1960s and early 1970s late-modernist use of sans serif typefaces on Polaroid, VHS and film packaging brought stability and a rational aloofness. We used this language to inform the sans-serif typeface for the titles. Tying these two worlds together, the strong colours used for dividing pages and titles bring the result into a resolutely contemporary book while acknowledging the era in which the recipes were written.

Publisher: Aperture
Contributor: Lisa Hostetler, edited by Denise Wolff