For anyone who’s ever wished for another pair of hands in the kitchen, this could be unnervingly close to reality.
When Moscow-based photographer Daria Khoroshavina decided to film her friend’s home cooking, she never could have guessed what would come of their collaboration.
Their “Kitchen Ghosts” project melts together the worlds of photography, film and food into eerie cinemagraphs that reimagine the way we follow recipes.
This “explosion of creativity,” as Khoroshavina describes it, came during one long Russian winter in which both she and friend Olga Kolesnikova found themselves out of work.
Kolesnikova wanted to find something she could do that would also allow her to spend time with her four-year-old son. The answer? Cooking.
So as Kolesnikova whipped up dishes — from French toast to honeysuckle cheesecake — Khoroshavina filmed her on a tripod and later edited them in After Effects and Photoshop, creating step-by-step cinemagraphs in which just a single element of the picture moves.
Pasta with chicken and honey orange sauce
After tenderizing the chicken, soak in soy sauce and set aside to marinate
“I love this project with all my heart. It’s not just about food and recipes, it’s about magic in everyday life — surprising, inspiring, and exceeding expectations,” says Khoroshavina.
“We also film a lot of drinks, because I think a cup of hot tea or an iced coffee can really set a mood that transfers to the viewer.”
Peel the zest of one orange
“I slapped on the title — “Kitchen Ghosts” — when I was uploading the pictures to Carbonmade,” explains Khoroshavina in her she explains in her artist’s statement. “I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was fun and only a few people would be seeing it anyways.
“But all of a sudden people started sharing it, and writing beautiful articles, and sending me lovely notes, and I could not change it anymore. Now I don’t want to.”
For the sauce: Fry garlic, olive oil, orange juice, honey, soy sauce, and orange zest
Beyond the mesmerizing imagery, the innovative project may also herald a shift in the way we follow recipes. Indeed, as our phones, cars and computers become smarter, will our cook books too?
“I think the future of food will be very visual and demonstrative,” says Khoroshavina.
“Interactive menus at restaurants, interactive cookbooks, and maybe apps that help you define if your food is ready by photographs.”
Fry the chicken, adding some sauce to the skillet
“Since most people are visual learners, I think and hope this will inspire them to cook more themselves,” says Khoroshavina.
“I like the process of preparing your own food, it’s an essential ritual of life so why abandon it?”
Cook the pasta
As futuristic as the Kitchen Ghosts work is, cooking pro Kolesnikova recommends starting with the basics.
“You need to master the traditional basics before you dive into experimental cooking,” she says.
“When I feel I’m already good at something, I love to experiment a bit, try a new flavor combination.”
Pour the sauce and enjoy!
“If you want an easy way – take a recipe and add something seasonal to it. That’s how we’ve learned to put tangerines in pies,” added Kolesnikova.
Even if you don’t plan on actually following their recipes, these headless kitchen helpers are still a mesmerizing work of art.