Slicing straight through a pepper while preparing a meal on the farm one evening, Ella was surprised to see a somewhat petrified face looking back at her. She carved out a pair of beady eyes, balanced the pepper on the windowsill, and thought she could just hear him say, "Green Pepper is HORRIFIED you want to eat him. Horrified and appalled." She snapped a pic, and posted it to Instagram, tagging it #thepeppertales, and thus began a journey documenting the private lives of peppers everywhere.
I met up with Ella recently to chat about her project, drink tea, and experience first hand the creation of her peppery adventures. Initially, whenever cooking with peppers, she'd cut them open, top to bottom, and try to pay attention to what they really looked like. The grimace, smile, or ludicrous grin then sparked a story for each pepper, which range from the everyday variety to the truly dramatic. Some of the Pepper Tales see Edwina and Gerald bungee jumping off the kitchen counter, Henrietta calming her stage fright before her big performance, and Terrence facing a stressful day at his high finance job.
You never know where a story might head. One minute the peppers are singing Christmas carols, the next they're posing reluctantly for their annual family photo. The options are really only limited to Ella's boundless imagination and her ridiculous sense of humour. She's put this humble vegetable in a new and hilarious light, and has created an entertaining feed with her images and laugh-out-loud captions. As one follower commented, "I love the way you see!"
I asked Ella to take me through her creative process:
1. Select an interesting looking pepper from the veggie section of your local supermarket.
2. Slice it in half from the top down, which will leave you with two 'faces'.
3. Gouge out little eyes. Depending on where you put the eyes, the expression of the peppers' face will change.
4. Decide what 'emotion' the pepper seems to be portraying.
5. Build a story based on this emotion.
6. Look around to find a location to place the pepper, and snap away.
7. If you'd like, tag your creations with #thepeppertales.
Ella shoots with her iPhone, edits in Afterlight, and she hopes to one day publish a book based on the Pepper Tales.
To find out what happened to Constance (the pepper pictured above), her bout of hayfever, and her new favourite hat visit @PepperTales (www.instagram/peppertales), or check out #thepeppertales tag. You'll also find Ella on her personal Instagram account at @EllaRoselt.