Wardrobe Snacks, a series created by Michelle Maguire (art direction and styling) and Kelsey McClellan (photography), a collaborative duo known as Terrence Caviar, was inspired by diners lacking the luxury of being seated at a table: Michelle’s stepdad who rests his sandwich on his thigh in between bites (hell with a plate!) while he blasts an action movie on his TV; a commuter cramped up on a crowded bus retrieving an item from a bag or pocket; a lunch-breaker on a park bench eating from her lap.
They’re informal – perhaps even a bit awkward – spaces as far as eating is concerned, yet the diners always appear to be comfortable and perfectly satisfied with their chosen snack, almost zen-like.
The two first met back in 2013 while working on Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts cookbook in Columbus, Ohio – Michelle prop-styled a portion of the photos and Kelsey shot. Since then they’ve worked hard to collaborate as much as possible. Kelsey moved to San Francisco almost 2 years ago, so now they’re 2500 miles apart. When they see each other, about 4 times a year, they squeeze in as many shoots as possible. They daydream about living in the same place again and working together full-time.
Michelle tends to draw inspiration from people she sees out in the world, just going about their business. The way they talk, and walk, and interact with one another while performing routine errands and transactions. Sometimes they’re dressed in full monochrome – unintentionally yet so wonderfully and perfectly styled. Kick-started by the desire to re-create and stylize these small moments she had observed, their idea was to just play around with color and texture to create a series of casual, monochromatic “sets” – in this case, zoomed-in views of a very specific section of a body.
Constantly on the hunt for items to add to her props collection, Michelle and her husband go to a lot of thrift stores and estate sales, which means she’s always gathering stuff – objects, clothing, paper ephemera, carpet remnants, you name it – that she thinks will photograph well. If it’s got nice color, texture, or shape, it’s going home with her.
Along with color, food is another great love that Michelle and Kelsey share, so for Wardrobe Snacks, once the clothing had been picked out, it was fun to think about an edible prop (both color-appropriate and easily eaten on-the-go or from your lap) to become the star of the show. When working on a series, it’s nice to set parameters – both visual and conceptual – so that each photo fits within the group as a whole.
For Michelle, the series is an example of the sensibilities that apply to her daily life: paying attention to details and finding beauty and humor and entertainment in even the most mundane goings-on.
For Kelsey, part of the pleasure in shooting food is that it is associated with so many different ideas and memories depending on the viewer. She enjoys the nostalgia and the chance to present it in small, idealized vignettes. The coordination of food and clothing is meant to be light-hearted: take the Zero bar shot, for example. It’s funny because of its pairing of highs and lows – elegant and formal clothing matched up with a cheap candy bar – the folds of the fabric echoing the ripples of white chocolate.
Both women say the response to the series has been exciting, garnering international attention. It’s totally gratifying to see so many people outside of their immediate network who are enjoying it with them. As for what’s next, the duo plans to keep moving with Wardrobe Snacks, shooting a few more pieces to round out the series while continuing to push its limited-edition prints, eventually trying to have a show somewhere – they would love to see them printed big. [Art direction/styling: Michelle Maguire (IG @pandahandler)][Official Website]