Still life photographer Sam Kaplan created a series of architectural structures using an unusual medium. He combined intricately stacked sticks of chewing gum in his new series Unwrapped, which he captured in still images with minimal post-processing. Although the pieces are constructed almost entirely from gum, Kaplan says the series is more about using uniform pieces of material to create 3D structures.
Hundreds of sticks of gum in a variety of colors are carefully stacked and shuffled into pyramids, columns, and arches. And because, as we all know, gum isn’t exactly sticky until after it’s chewed, Kaplan called in some help from super glue to support his chewy structures. Once the futuristic towers were complete, Kaplan captured them in still images, but the series is a far cry from some of the product photography he does elsewhere in his work.
“I wanted to find a material that could be both repeatable and remain uniform,” said Kaplan. “I also wanted a high level of malleability and after a lot of trial and error I landed on gum. I have always been interested in futurist and Mayan architecture, and this project was a way to combine both of those to make new forms.”
Like many modern artists, Kaplan wisely takes advantage of social media platforms—like Instagram—to share his work. His IG stream is brimming with photographs of his artwork, and interspersed with glimpses into his personal life, many of which feature his young (and incredibly adorable) son Jonas. No word on whether the tot helped his artist dad unwrap those 500-some sticks of gum.
Images via Sam Kaplan