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Savouring Simplicity: A Visual Exploration of Wattie's Tinned Comfort Foods

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Watties is a renowned food company that was founded in New Zealand in 1934 by Sir James Wattie, who started his entrepreneurial journey by establishing a small fruit and vegetable canning operation in Hastings, New Zealand. The company quickly gained recognition for its commitment to using local ingredients and ensuring product freshness. As the business expanded, Watties became a household name, known for its high-quality canned goods.


During World War II, Watties played a significant role in supporting the war effort. The company provided canned food supplies for the New Zealand military, contributing to the nation's sustenance during challenging times.


In the years that followed, Watties diversified its product range and introduced iconic food items that would go on to become beloved by generations. One of their most renowned products is Watties Tomato Sauce (ketchup), which has become a staple condiment in New Zealand households. The brand also gained popularity for its baked beans and canned spaghetti, which have become synonymous with comfort food in the region.


The emotional connection New Zealanders have with the Watties brand can be attributed to its longevity, iconic products, alignment with local values, cultural relevance, effective marketing, and community involvement. These factors have contributed to Watties becoming much more than just a food brand—it has become a symbol of comfort, tradition, and a shared love for New Zealand cuisine.


Photographing baked beans and spaghetti in a graphic, minimalist style with hard light and shadows creates an essentially nostalgic image that evokes childhood memories of sitting at the table next to the window on a sunny morning, and emphasises the simplicity and textures of these classic dishes. This style focuses on clean lines, bold contrasts, and strong compositions to draw attention to the essence of the food.


To achieve this aesthetic, a key element is the use of hard, directional lighting. A powerful light source is positioned to cast sharp, defined shadows that enhance the contours and shapes of the beans and spaghetti. The hard light creates a striking contrast between the illuminated areas and the shadowy regions, adding depth and visual interest to the composition.


In this minimalist approach, the focus is on highlighting the ingredients themselves rather than elaborate settings or distractions. The use of a simple, monochromatic background or a clean surface allows the beans and spaghetti to take center stage. The colors and textures of the food become the main elements of the composition, emphasizing their appeal and inviting the viewer to appreciate their simplicity.

The arrangement of the beans and spaghetti should be deliberate and carefully considered. Each element is placed with precision, creating a visually pleasing balance and composition. The lines and shapes created by the food become prominent features, contributing to the overall graphic quality of the image.


By photographing baked beans and spaghetti in this minimalist style, the viewer's attention is drawn to the textures, colors, and interplay of light and shadows. The simplicity and clean aesthetics allow the viewer to appreciate the beauty in the basic elements of these dishes. The hard light and bold contrasts enhance the visual impact, creating a visually striking photograph that celebrates the understated allure of baked beans and spaghetti.



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