Ham sandwich as memento mori

This is a photograph of the sort of Ham sandwich we make at Alles Elbe. It was taken on film using my now lost Pentax 6×7 camera, 105/ f2.4 lens and lit with a ramshackle set up using a halogen spot light and a reflector.

I took it to see if I could take a decent picture of a Ham sandwich. I don’t know how to light things very well, and had asked a friend, Peter Adams, to help teach me about lighting using this camera. I had asked him because he had the same camera and had worked as a professional photographer.

“If you’re taking photographs of food, you have to make it delicious. For a ham sandwich, make sure you can see the butter, and get the colour right.”

Northern Germans can be scant in their praise; Peter had warned me he was a pain in the neck and pretty critical. That doesn’t bother me, as New Zealanders are all that forthcoming either. So I took this and had it developed and printed it using my hybrid workflow (i.e. scanning film, inkjet printing).

“Not bad,” he said. (A not bad is pretty good.) “Think about wedging the sandwich up, getting the gerkins in focus and maybe getting the knife and fork to lead into the middle and I think you’d have it. The 135mm macro would be the lens to use.”

We were meant to meet again and talk and do more together but life interfered. During a severe depression I chucked my camera into the river and today I heard Peter died. So I have a ham sandwich as a memento mori.

Peter liked the sandwiches. Bless him.

Alles Elbe Schinkenbrot (1 of 1)


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