Founded in 2015, DeadHungry began life as a way for Alex Paganelli to make a living from the two art forms he loved most: food and imagemaking. Since then, the culinary polymath has created a deliciously distinct visual language that breathes new life into brand campaigns – be it life-sized jelly handbags and boots for Bottega Veneta, or logoed waffles for Kim Kardashian’s loungewear range Skims.
Growing up in a small town in the Alps, Paganelli spent much of his time nurturing an infatuation with food. “I knew I loved cooking since I was really young, but working in restaurants while studying I also realised I didn’t want to go down this sort of classic restaurant route, it wasn’t quite for me,” he tells CR. “When I finished, I went into restaurants full-time as a temporary way to figure out what I wanted to do, and eventually I started trying to become a private chef, doing consulting work, creating menus for little restaurants and chains.”
The photography side of Paganelli’s work is entirely self-taught, initially as a way to promote his burgeoning, London-based chef practice. “At the beginning it was more to just document what I was doing, instead of having a recipe book I was more into taking photos to have a nice website, to have a good Instagram. The idea was to get booked for jobs by having nice visuals to sell myself,” he says.