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Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography – Photographs from the exhibition – LensCulture

An excellent, wide-ranging exhibition currently on view at Foam Amsterdam, provides a decadent spread of images that explore photography’s longterm love affair with food

New Brighton, England, 1983-85 © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos
New Brighton, England, 1983-85 © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

Photographs from the exhibition
Review by Sophie Wright

We are what we eat. Brought together by a passion for food photography, the creators of Feast for the Eyes, curator and writer Susan Bright and senior editor of Aperture Denise Wolff, are strong believers in this dictum. If their expansive exhibition, currently on view at Foam in Amsterdam—and equally wide-ranging book—is anything to go by, there is strong evidence for their case. Separated into three sections, ‘Still Life,’ ‘Around the Table’ and ‘Playing with Food,’ the exhibition brings images from the realms of art, commerce, documentary and vernacular photography into conversation with one another to reveal just how much one of the most common markers of everyday life can show us about ourselves and the world around us.

It is precisely the ordinary nature of the act of eating that makes food such a rich and fertile topic—everyone has a relationship to it. “Eating is one of the most mundane and carnal acts, yet it is also central to our rituals, religions, and celebrations. Food touches both public and private life. It can signify a lifestyle or a nation, hope or despair, hunger or excess,” affirm the curators. “Ultimately, food is not only about literal taste, but also Taste with a capital ‘T’—both the way of life we aspire to and the building blocks of culture itself. And so, similarly, photographs of food are rarely just about food.” The images on show act as portals into these many themes, and seen together, they also speak volumes about photography itself: its ontology, its languages, its various uses and our relationship to it.

Meat Mountain. Photographer Unknown.
Meat Mountain. Photographer Unknown.

The show opens with a mouthwatering collection of still lifes by an array of different artists, stretching all the way back to the medium’s early days to more recent work. Several years after the birth of photography, William Fox Talbot took the first photograph of a basket of fruit, signalling the beginning of the medium’s longstanding love affair with food. Initially, photographic still lifes borrowed from the symbolism and traditions of painting, before photographers really began to explore the particularities of their own medium. Pioneering artists such as Paul Strand and Edward Weston used fruit and vegetables to play with light and form, while Howard Edgerton’s iconic image of a bullet shooting through an apple experimented with motion, using an electronic flash he invented himself. Building on the conventions of the genre, the photographic still life forged its own exploration of time and space—one that lives on in the work of Daniel Gordon. In his dizzying, vibrant arrangements, real pieces of fruit are replaced with a mix of 2D and 3D found images of fruit, toying with perspective, texture and color.

Daniel Gordon, Clementines, 2011. © Daniel Gordon, courtesy the artist and James Fuentes Gallery, New York
Daniel Gordon, Clementines, 2011. © Daniel Gordon, courtesy the artist and James Fuentes Gallery, New York

Read the full story HERE >>> Source: LensCulture Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography – Photographs from the exhibition | Review by Sophie Wright | LensCulture

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