These stalks first received their aphrodisiac status from the Doctrine of Signatures. Also known as the Law of Similarities, this theory says that if one thing looks like or is reminiscent of another, then it will improve or aid that which it looks like. So if food looks sexual, then the Doctrine of Signatures says it is meant to improve or aid sex.
And indeed, asparagus is a beautiful (albeit slender) phallic symbol. Sometimes embarrassingly obvious. Lascivious, in fact. It’s finger food extraordinaire, easy to prepare, and positively dripping with sensuality — and butter, if you’re lucky.
French lovers of yesteryear dined on three courses of the white and green spears on the night before their wedding. Today we know that asparagus is packed with potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin E. For those love-hungry couples, it offers extra energy, a well-working urinary tract and kidneys, and a natural dose of the “sex vitamin” necessary for increased hormone production.
creating the image
To create the image of the asparagus skirt, we blanched hundreds of spears to make them bright green and then divided them into three piles: good enough to eat (but not enough to photograph), heros, and super heros. We strung the super heroes onto fishing wire, using eraserheads to stabilize the spears. When it came time to shoot, we draped the skirt around our lovely med-school student. As soon as we shot the Polaroid, the wire started to cut through the tender asparagus, and the whole skirt fell to the ground. We quickly shifted the remaining unblemished spears to the front of the skirt, retied it around her hips (but this time bare in the back!), and went straight to film. The result? Hula like you’ve never seen before.
photo by ben fink