I thought it could be fun and challenging to try and visualize the five primary taste sensations: bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami. What would they look like if they existed as a physical entity?

These sensations are experienced through taste alone, and I wanted to see if it would be possible to visually describe their characteristics. Captured in a still photograph, replacing the basic human sense of taste, with sight.

To bring these to life, I enlisted the expertise of the incredible food stylist Iain Graham and super talented set designer Aliki Kirmitsi. Together we combined the things we associated with each of the five sensations, from textures to colors, materials and shapes.

Such as sourness we saw as acidic and sharp. Iain crafted blended fruit, set it into crisp sheets and then broke it into jagged shards. Saltiness we saw as dry and dusty, bitter as burnt and charred. Sweetness as rounded, pink and gooey, and umami as a taste with depth constructed by other elements.

Hoping these visual cues might generate a sense or feeling of the sensation with the viewer, like pleasure, salivation and sharpness.

More info: aarontilley.com | Instagram | alikikirmitsi.com | iaingrahamchef.com

Sweet

Bitter

Salty

Sour

Umami