by Tim Smyth
Publication date: December 2013
Binding: Hard cover
Extent: 132 pp
Trim size: 176mm x 250mm
Photographs: 55 colour + 6 Tip-ins
Defective Carrots is a typology of carrots that have been deemed unfit for consumers’ eyes. Mechanically scanned, thousands of ‘optically deficient’ carrots are singled out each day and promptly removed from the conveyor belt. Some are grotesquely deformed and understandably rejected on behalf of the consumer. Others have morphed in to humorous shapes referential of phallic abnormalities, human body parts and various imagined creatures. However, many other defective carrots have only the slightest irregularity, encouraging one to question the extent to which the retailer and the consumer is willing to privilege perceptions of ‘the norm’ over basic nourishment values.
Defective Carrots is introduced by a press release for Focus®, the optical sorting machine that acts as the barrier between the defective carrots and the consumer. Focus® registers each individual carrot live on-screen; as they pass through its gaze on a high-speed conveyor belt they are deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad’. If a carrot is just one degree too crooked it is relegated and sliced in to batons or mixed into animal feed. This offers a glimpse into a world behind the fruit & veg shelves of your local supermarket and the curious relationship that has evolved between agriculture and technological innovation.
The book is bound in orange cloth over board, with a foil blocked carrot shape on the cover. Integrated amongst fifty-six colour photographs are six tipped-in illustrations. These depict defects such as ‘fanging’, ‘scabbing’ and ‘crookedness’ adapted directly from the users manual of Focus®. The fifty-six colour photographs finally culminate with an image index over a double page spread.
Shortlisted for the PhotoEspana Photobook award 2014
Selected by John Gossage for Photo Eye's Photobooks of the year, 2014
"Just when we thought everything had been photographed along comes a book, where
the subject was both fascinating and unlikely. Defective Carrots is a charming and
quite scientific study of ... defective carrots. It is a beautifully produced book and
is likely to be one of the best books of the year."
- Martin Parr
"In Defective Carrots, photographer Tim Smyth shows that different can be beautiful, too."
- Huffington Post
" Il libro fotografico Defective Carrots di Tim Smyth restituisce dignità alle carote difettose che non passano il processo di selezione (umano). E al loro sapore chi ci pensa?"
- Marie Claire, Italy
"Today’s agriculture is so technologically enhanced that even our vegetables are designed. Who knew our produce aisles were so highly curated?"
"A strange and kind of crazy book, and certainly a monochromatic and monomaniacal book!"
- L'Ascenseur Végétal
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