Fine Cheeses (Emmentaler AOP 2020)

The Emmentaler Switzerland trade organisation’s 2020 report is a masterclass in the use of studio photography.

Emmentaler cheese, often referred to as ‘Swiss cheese’ has a history dating back around five hundred years. The modern Emmentaler trade organisation works with various stakeholders in the cheesemaking industry and more than 100 carefully selected traditional cheese-making villagers, to create its range of cheeses.

Photography is key – other design elements in the report are handled efficiently, without fuss. Images are credited to a number of photographers and studios, and ten double-page spreads (five images) dominate the report. Each of these focuses on a specific type of cheese and the ceramics made in-house.

What makes these images memorable is a combination of four factors: colour palette, texture, clarity, and composition.

The palette is beautifully balanced towards the midtones. Specular highlights and deep shadows are finely controlled. Coupled with the soft lighting, the food (and the cheese in particular) seems to glow with an inner light.

The meals are heavily influenced by the New Nordic Cuisine movement of the early 2000s – everything from locally sourced, edible flowers to sauces carefully painted on the plate make an appearance here. Texture plays an important role in complementing the food or providing contrast – the table, cutlery, serviettes, and ceramics are crucial elements of each image. Each image is pin-sharp, this clarity introducing the ideas of precision and care.

In terms of composition within a picture, every aspect is precise, carefully arranged – notably the artful placement of crumbs. There is a suggestion of precision being a key focus for Emmentaler – oddly fitting for a cheese company. In terms of composition of image and text, the typography remains a discreet addition, never drawing attention from the image.

It’s rare for an annual report to be defined by five photographs, but Emmentaler AOP succeeds and the results are luxurious.

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