Candy Is the Star In “Big Appetites: Tiny People”

candy-corn-smallI love creative photography and I love candy, so it’s safe to say that I’m obsessed with these shots of tiny people interacting with some of the best treats the world has to offer. You can see these and more in Christopher Boffoli’s book, Big Appetites: Tiny People in a World of Big Food. (Amazon, $8.46 plus shipping.)

The book doesn’t stop at candy, taking the viewer on a food art journey from breakfast to dessert, plus snacks and drinks. Halloween is right around the corner, though, so of course we’re focused on the sweet stuff. Really, how can you go wrong with candy corn expeditions and the perils of candy apple making? (“I don’t think you can” is the correct answer here.)

Boffoli is a Seattle-based food writer and photographer who ventured into taking pictures seriously after he witnessed the events of 9/11 in New York, and a serious injury in a Mt. Rainier mountaineering accident. Since then, his work has been shown in more than 100 countries, and his images have gone viral. He continues to exhibit, and, of course, he’s got a book now to show his work offline as well. He says he was inspired to work with tiny figures by the media of his childhood.

“There were so many films and television shows that exploited both the dramatic and comedy potential of a juxtaposition of different scales: tiny people in a normal-sized world. It is a surprisingly common cultural theme going back all the way to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels in the 18th century and perhaps earlier….I think it is especially resonant with children because as a child you live in an adult world that is out of scale with your body and proportions.”

His little figures work in and around the food, and his clever captions bring understated humor to their truly extraordinary food experiences. The results with the candy photography are particularly delicious, whether it’s a gumdrop balloon or peanut butter cup repair. (I think Willy Wonka would be well and truly jealous.) Boffoli says the size difference between the people and the food sparks viewer reactions:

“People imagine the possibilities of standing next to a towering piece of chocolate cake or an Oreo cookie large enough to serve as a raft, floating in a glass of milk. But I hope the deeper effect is to compel the viewer to look more closely at the world around them and to consider deeper truths about our relationship to the food that sustains us but also that we crave for comfort.”

Take a peek at these tiny people tackling Halloween treats. My favorite is Big Jake, the blow pop jackhammer operator. I think he’s inspired me to pass out lollipops to the kids in my neighborhood this year, so his work here is done.

All images and captions courtesy of Christopher Boffoli.

  • Big Appetites, Tiny People 1 of 11
  • Candy Corn Expedition 2 of 11

    "Gavin was usually a jumpy guy. But when it came to his vocation he was absolutely fearless."

    So much better than those vats of colored plastic balls that children play in, don't you think? Candy corn can be a divisive food — love it or hate it? I'm surprisingly candy corn ambivalent. 

  • Peanut Butter Cup Repair Technicians 3 of 11

    "The job required the strength of a bricklayer and the dexterity of a cosmetic surgeon."

    I'm sure they resent people like me, who stick their fingers straight into the bottom for fun. 

  • Salted Caramel Harvesters 4 of 11

    "Everyone had to adjust to changes in the economy."

    I could dive face first into every single one of these. Truth. 


  • Unjolly Ranchers 5 of 11

    "A cowhand's work is never done."

    Pies, chips, whatever you call them — this variety is much more fun than the real thing, cowpoke. 

  • S’mores Team 6 of 11

    "Differences of opinion about the placement of ingredients would occasionally devolve into turf battles between chocolate and marshmallow crews."

    Look at the precision in that s'more. I'm imagining it'll be even more beautiful when it melts. (What? You don't have emotional reactions to s'mores?) 

  • Blow Pop Jackhammer 7 of 11

    "The number of licks to the bubble gum center became a moot point with Big Jake around."

    Power tools and lollipops: an unlikely - kind of awesome - combination. 

  • Caramel Apple Accidents 8 of 11

    "After several ignored warnings, Toby finally understood acutely the dangers of hot caramel work."

    You can never be too careful around hot apples, so I've heard. 

  • Kisses Scribe 9 of 11

    "Kurt missed the comfort of feeling sad."

    Oh, Kurt. The kisses! No sadness allowed. 

  • Pez Organizers 10 of 11

    "They broke the monotony of their work with contests for the tallest stacks."

    I'll admit in public that stacking Pez was one of my frequent childhood activities. (I liked my Donald Duck dispenser the best.) 

  • Gumdrop Balloonist 11 of 11

    "In no time at all Gilbert put his lottery winning to frivolous use."

    Shades of Up? That's what I'm thinking here, anyway, although I'm unsure about the physics involved with gumdrops. They seem kind of heavy for this job. 

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