Ernie Button’s photography series looks at the breakfast food in minute detail, prompting a conversation on today’s nutrition.
Did you know finding a four-leaf clover, touring the pyramids, and visiting the Grand Canyon could be as simple as eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast? Artist Ernie Button examines the various colors and textures of cereals and places individual pieces in such a way as to create realistic, miniature landscapes. The series, Cerealisms, began with a normal trip to the cereal aisle; one day, when Button was browsing the multitude of options, he noticed the difference between the ‘childrens’ cereals and the ‘adult’ brands:
The cereal aisle has become a cornucopia of vibrantly colored marshmallows that resemble people and objects and characters from movies, as if they were calling out to have their portraits taken, to be the center of attention. However, on the other side of the aisle sits the more ‘adult’ cereals (i.e. fiber, bran)… It is apparent that cereal is not just for breakfast anymore. Cereal has evolved into pop culture objects instead of just nutritious corn pops.
Button began photographing the various cereal brands, placing both the sugar-coated ‘characters’ from children’s brands and the neutral colored adult brands in landscapes that would best highlight their features. For example, he placed Kellogg’s limited-edition orange and white Finding Nemo branded marshmallows into a fish tank and set Post’s wiry Shredded Wheat against a backdrop of an Arizona desert, playing up the connection to the movie and the natural look of the shredded wheat. When placed in context, the cereals start to morph from being just breakfast food into a conversation thought-starter.
On the right: Life In The Fish Bowl: Clown Fish, on the left: Bales Of Shredded Wheat 2
Button speaks to the project as a study in nutrition:
I took a few years off from the world of Cerealism to pursue other photography projects. During that time, I experienced some changes in my health that forced me to examine what I was eating and change the foods that I consume. It pushed me to look closely at what nutrition means. I am much more informed and aware of what I consume. Even though I don’t eat cereal that much anymore, I still find breakfast cereal fascinating on a visual level: is it food, is it entertainment, is it nourishment, is it really a dessert or is it all of the above? I don’t want it to seem like I’m picking on cereal but the macro world of cereal provides me with the perfect vehicle to examine and highlight what it is that people eat; from the frosting-like coating that covers the marshmallows to the brightly colored cereals that turn milk a variety of pastel hues other than white.
What does your cereal choice say about you?
Click through the gallery below to see images from the Cerealism series, and visit Button’s site to see the full series: