Humans and Food
For as long as I can remember, the conversation surrounding food—and the impact it can have—has been a constant. I am surrounded by discussions of sustainable food practices, using food to fuel my passion for cycling, understanding the journey and story behind every coffee bean. But in late 2016, those conversations took on new meeting: instead of simply discussing food’s impact, I wanted to show and display how it could be used to connect with those around me on a deeper level. The narrative I adopted asked people why they were drawn to certain dishes, what those meals represented to them, which emotions conjured.
In Humans And Food, I dive a bit deeper than everyday conversations regarding food. Through photography, I explore the intersection between food and the people who consume it. With this series, I hope to display food’s symbolism and it’s ability to be the common ground in polarizing times.
In my eyes, the act of breaking bread, in the simplest form, is an offering. It’s an invitation for discussion, an act of camaraderie, a notion of harmony. Bread is an often-overlooked part of one’s meal, sometimes an expectation for many diners. Yet, it’s often the one element that everyone shares. With this first set of photos, I wanted to show that even the simplest dish could act as a common ground between two individuals. No matter what the individuals order—and no matter their beliefs—their ability to break bread together, to pick from the same loaf, offers hope that they can find common ground elsewhere, too.
Little Fish, Big Pond
Despite my efforts, the vision I had created for this project didn’t translate to the photos. I realized the emotions I wanted to evoke and the discussions I hoped to prompt seemed lost. While editing, I stepped back. And in doing, I realized that these images spoke less to our existence in a vast world, but more to our individuality within the society that we live.
The bright salmon color pops against a dark backdrop, just as we try to find our light amidst the chaos and demands of everyday life. But coloring aside, the salmon in itself represents the daily obstacles each one of us face, and the steps we take to overcome them. While the salmon swims against the current—society’s expectations—we, too, go against what is considered the norm. In a time where everything around us seems so perfectly curated (my feed included), it’s often hard to find our own rhythm. So just as the salmon spends his life swimming upstream, we continue fighting to make a name for ourselves; we strive to do what we love.
Perhaps the journey to find our individual purpose and meaning in this life is the most beautiful photo of all.
An olive branch speaks for itself. It represents peace, a sign of unity, possibly even a gesture of hope or friendship. I wanted that symbolism to anchor this set of photos, and as such, I wanted to be incredibly intentional in the way I presented the model. Her seated position embodies one’s position while at rest, relaxed and quiet. Her hands, although crossed, are delicate even while offering a stable support to the plate—or offering—she is holding. Throughout the photos, her hands never clench to form a fist, but instead remain open and soft. In her posture and via her poses, she embodies the meaning of an olive branch: peace.
Life Gives you lemons
It’s a saying we’re told from a young age: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. It’s a way to think about one thing—positive or negative—and turn it into something entirely different. That’s how I see photography, specifically culinary photography. Presented with a dish, I aim to use photos to evoke a feeling that’s entirely new, possibly separate from what the viewer might have originally thought. In this set of photos, a lemon isn’t just a fruit. Instead, it is an opportunity to create, to grow, to learn.