Dwight Eschliman

Dwight Eschliman- Qualcomm

Dwight Eschliman created new images for Qualcomm’s campaign, “Why Wait”. The shoot took place in Eschliman Studio over a span of two days.

The campaign aims to illustrate Qualcomm’s commitment to “challenge” what they see in the present in order to “invent the technologies that will shape tomorrow”.

Dwight Eschliman is represented by Apostrophe. More of his work can be seen through his AtEdge portfolio & through his website: eschlimanphoto.com.

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©Dwight Eschliman

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©Dwight Eschliman

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©Dwight Eschliman

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©Dwight Eschliman

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©Dwight Eschliman

Ingredients: A Conversation with Dwight Eschliman

Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products is the latest book from world-renowned photographer Dwight Eschlimanand author Steve Ettlinger. Newly released at the end of September, Ingredients: is a combination of fine art and evocative food science which aims to help people understand exactly what goes into processed foods. While many of us have an understanding that much of our food is processed, this book brings ingredient lists to life in a whole new way and makes unpronounceable names real, forever changing how we read food labels.

The subject of Ingredients: is especially pertinent today, with more and more people caring about what’s actually in their food. While the photos and information in Ingredients: may be surprising, even alarming, the book is not meant to be a polemic against Big Food. Instead, the authors’ intention is to make readers into more informed shoppers.

“If food ingredient labels make your eyes glaze over, we hope that this book will open them instead,” writes Ettlinger in the introduction. “We hope that this little bit of art and science … will make you think about food additives as real stuff, not just some strange words on a label.”

The authors were first inspired to collaborate on Ingredients: because of a mutual intrigue in what exactly we’re eating – and the Twinkie. Eschliman created a visual treatment of Twinkies ingredients in 2012 called 37 or So Ingredients that went viral and led him to Steve Ettlinger, author of the acclaimed book Twinkie, Deconstructed.

We caught up with Dwight to learn more about the making of the book, the most surprising thing he learned, and to learn more about what he’s working on next.

Dwight Eschliman is represented by Apostrophe. More of his work can be seen through at-edge.com, apostrophe.net andeschlimanphoto.com.

INGREDIENTS_55_Red 40 and Yellow 5

Red No. 40 and Yellow No. 5: Two additives that are manufactured similarly from a mixture of powders that come from petroleum products such as benzene.

When did you first start deconstructing objects in your photography?
I’ve always organized things. Recently my parents showed me a picture that I’d taken as a child of my dresser after perfectly organizing all those items that a 10 year old cares about – a model airplane, Garfield shrinky-dink, Legos, books about baseball and jet airplanes, etc. Traditionally it’s been more about the organization than the deconstruction, but I do love the organized deconstruction! Organization has been a career-long theme. My first organized composition, or grid, was a promotional poster for a paper company I did when I was still in school. I collaborated with Todd Richards, a very talented designer. It’s still an image I love.

INGREDIENTS_34_Isoamyl acetate

Isoamyl acetate: An ‘ester’ used in artificial scents and flavors. It can be found in beverages as well as ice cream, candy, baked goods (it was the original flavor of Twinkies’ creamy filling), chewing gum, and gelatin desserts.

How did you end up getting involved with Ingredients:?
Ingredients: had its start as a personal project. In 2009 I deconstructed the Hostess family of baked goods after some on set discussions about the state of the American diet. I singled out the Twinkie and self-published a book entitled 37 Or So Ingredients. We created a website for the project and it went viral. I guess there’s something about the Twinkie! After all the attention that 37 Or So Ingredients received, this book project basically fell into my lap. I immediately knew I wanted to expand beyond baked goods and explore the world of food additives. I recognized that the world of food additives (or functional ingredients as the food scientists would prefer we call them) is a subject matter that elicits strong opinions regardless of position. I wanted to put a face to the names that you hear all the time: Acesulfame K, Agar, MSG, Xanthan gum, etc.


Shellac: A preservative made from insect excretions. Shellac helps keep foods fresh and is also used on vegetables, chocolates, baked goods, and even coffee beans and chewing gum.

Tell us about your process for shooting this book.
Most of our time invested in the book was spent doing research and sourcing. I wanted to bring a balanced, expository approach to the book and put a lot of effort into creating a balanced edit in terms of both perception of additive (good vs. evil) and functional purpose of that additive. To accomplish this, I had to read an awful lot about food and the food science world. Along the way I ran into Steve Ettlinger, a great writer that ended up being my collaborator for Ingredients:. The book includes 75 additives and 25 deconstructed foods. In the end, we sourced close to 700 additives and ingredients. Most were not too difficult to source, a few were challenging, and one was impossible.


Corn: Used to make more food additives than any ingredient other than petroleum. Pictured are cornstarch, chemically altered “modified cornstarch,” maltodextrin, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup.

Were there any particular challenges you faced when photographing these items?
Perhaps the greatest challenge was preventing viewer fatigue. It was important to me that the book remained clinical and consistent to allow the viewer to access sometimes rather subtle variations in a world of white powders and clear liquids. Most additives look quite similar. Just think of salt and sugar. Not too different! There simply aren’t a lot of people out there that are going to get excited about looking at 280 pages of nearly identical photographs.

We photographed additives from two perspectives and included environmental photographs of grocery stores to help round out the story and create some visual variation while still staying true to the clinical and consistent visual approach that was critical to my vision of the book. It also helps to have a talented design firm to work with. Manual did an amazing job with the book.


Soy lecithin: One of the most common emulsifiers used in food processing. It improves dough handling, moisture retention, texture, volume, browning, and shelf life. It is typically used in place of egg yolks.

What was the most surprising thing you learned?
I was surprised to learn that MSG may not be responsible for each headache I get, that although it’s in nearly everything, High Fructose Corn Syrup is nearly impossible to obtain, and that Diacetyl smells really, really awful.


Diacetyl: Primarily used in artificial butter flavor. Has an intensely gross odor when freshly manufactured.

What will your next project be?
Right now we’re looking at cows.

All photographs © Dwight Eschliman, from Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products (Regan Arts, September 2015)

Dwight Eschliman Has a New Book and It’s Going to Make You Think Twice About Processed Foods

Dwight Eschliman’s upcoming book Ingredients is set to be released this September.

The book includes close-up photos of 75 common food additives and is an unprecedented visual exploration of what is really inside our food, setting the record straight on the controversial and fascinating science of chemical and synthetic additives in processed food—from Twinkies and McNuggets to organic protein bars and healthy shakes.

Already featured on Wired and Fast Company, Ingredients promises to be an eye-opener.

From far away, the ingredients listed on nutritional labels look like a pretty homogenous set of mildly-colored powders and liquids, but these up-close photos emphasize their variety, revealing the small tweaks in viscosity and texture that make the difference between a great emulsifier and a shiny coating. In the book, science writer Steve Ettlinger dissects those details, exploring each ingredient’s journey from raw material to highly refined ingredient to your plate. – Wired

You can now pre-order the book on Amazon.

In the meantime, here are some images from Ingredients.


Chlorophyll, extracted with solvents like acetone and petroleum, is used to dye some gum, ice cream, and absinthe. Image: Dwight Eschliman | Source: Fast Company


Red No. 40, aka 6-hydroxy-5-(2-methoxy-5-methyl-4-sufophenylazo)-2-naphthalenesulfonic acid sodium salt, is made from a mix of gray powders that come from petroleum products like benzene. But it ends up red, and turns things like lemonade pink. Yellow No. 5 is made through a similar process. Image: Dwight Eschliman | Source:Fast Company


To make mono- and diglycerides, factories heat vegetable oil (or lard) to get a slurry of glycerin called a “milkshake,” and then dry it into flakes, powders, and beads. Manufacturers use the fats in baked goods, peanut butter, candy, and coffee creamer. Image: Dwight Eschliman | Source: Fast Company


Lycopene, the phytochemical that makes tomatoes red, is chemically extracted from leftover tomato guts after companies make sauce or juice. It’s used as food coloring. Image: Dwight Eschliman | Source: Fast Company

PDN Photo Annual 2014

AtEdge would like to congratulate our photographers who received recognition in the PDN Photo Annual 2014!

Simon Harsent: Advertising

Ad agency: GPY&R Transport for NSW

Ad agency: GPY&R :: Dangers of fatigued driving.


Chris Gordaneer: Advertising

Ad Agency: Proximity Canada #WEAREWINTER Canadian Olympic Team

Ad Agency: Proximity Canada :: Canadian Olympic Team


RJ Muna: Advertising

Agency: In-house Campaign for Alonzo King's LINES ballet

Agency: In-house ::
Ad campaign for Alonzo King’s LINES ballet company.


Pat Molnar: Advertising

Ad agency: Lowe Campbell Ewald Detroit  USAA *note, different image from campaign appeared in pdn

Ad agency: Lowe Campbell Ewald Detroit :: USAA *Note, a different image from campaign appeared in PDN.


Taylor Castle: Advertising

Ad Agency: DDB Chicago  The Field Museum Chicago

Ad Agency: DDB Chicago ::
The Field Museum Chicago


Dan Saelinger: Magazine/Editorial

Editorial for The Atlantic

The Atlantic :: Companies creating healthier junk food.


Howard Schatz: Photo Books

Caught in the Act: Actors Acting

Caught in the Act: Actors Acting


David Emmite: Corporate Design/Photo Products/Self-Promo Pieces

"Somebody's Kid"

“Somebody’s Kid”


Simon HarsentCorporate Design/Photo Products/Self-Promo Pieces

"The Beautiful Game" :: football stadiums

“The Beautiful Game”


Lennette Newell: Corporate Design/Photo Products/Self-Promo Pieces

Promotional image used by Lennette when she appeared on American's Next Top Model

Promotional image used by Lennette when she was a photographer on American’s Next Top Model.


Maxine Helfman: Corporate Design/Photo Products/Self-Promo Pieces

"Historical Correction"

“Historical Correction”


Michael Lewis: Corporate Design/Photo Products/Self-Promo Pieces

Self-Portrait, on the set

Self-Portrait, on the set


Tim Tadder: Stock Photography

"Peak-Action Soccer" for Corbis

Corbis Images: “Peak-Action Soccer” for World Cup


Jonathan Chapman: Stock Photography

"Highway 1"

“Highway 1”


Francesco Tonelli: Websites :: http://www.francescotonelli.com

Food Photography

Food Photography


Dwight Eschliman: Websites :: Bicycle San Francisco

Dwight Eschliman's Bicycle San Francisco page

Product Photography