Feast for the Eyes.
The Story of Food in Photography
Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam
– 3 March 2019
Food is not only a big topic in everyday life, it also occupies a lot of space in the digital world. Numerous food bloggers make it their business to record the presentation and aesthetics of their food and share it with millions of interested people. The Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam provides an overview of the various ways in which photography has so far dealt with the subject of food.
The term “feast for the eyes” perhaps best conveys the content of the show: it showcases images of food more or less intended for consumption taken spontaneously or in staged contexts. The photos were taken for artistic purposes as well as for advertising, science, and photojournalism. We can safely say that food porn is by no means an invention of Instagram, it was already there at the time of Stephen Shore’s recordings showing menus in diners in the United States in the 1970s. Given the existential significance of the subject, images of food are usually charged with a wide variety of meanings, representing a lifestyle, a country, hunger or also excess.
The exhibition begins with a focus on still life as a traditional form of representation in the arts. Photography makes use of this genre again and again, modifying it in places to explore the possibilities of the photographic process. The second part of the exhibition deals with everything related to food culture, from waiting in a queue at a snack bar to eating spaghetti – processes that determine and shape identity. Lastly, the exhibition includes photographs under the heading “Playing with Food” which add a humorous touch to the theme. The exhibition also includes cookbooks with pictures from and in historical and everyday contexts.