Feast for the Eyes

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

LondonArt & Culture

Feast for the Eyes

Playing with your food: a new exhibition explores the evolving world of food photography from fine art to social media...

The Photographers’ Gallery has recently opened a major exhibition exploring the rich history of food photography through 140 works; from noted luminaries including Martin Parr, Cindy Sherman, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol and Stephen Shore.


Phillip J. Stazzone is on WPA and enjoys his favourite food as he’s heard that the Army doesn’t go in very strong for serving spaghetti, 1940
© Weegee/International Center of Photography

Set over two floors at the Soho gallery, the exhibition—composed around three themes—features everything from black and white silver gelatin prints and early experiments with colour processes to contemporary works; encompassing fine art and vernacular photography, commercial and scientific images, photojournalism and fashion.

Looking at a subject that will forever occupy the lives of the general public, and long been a photographed subject, co-curator Susan Bright comments: “food—and how it is photographed—defines how we live and how we value ourselves, and, at its very best, connects us to our dreams and desires.”

Specifically dissecting how food is represented and used in photographic practices—especially so in an age where the human races seems irreversibly obsessed with taking and sharing images of our own meals across social media—the pictures exhibited in Feast for the Eyes, The Story of Food in Photography evoke deep-seated questions and anxieties about issues such as wealth; poverty; consumption; appetite; tradition; gender; race; desire; pleasure; revulsion; and domesticity.

The first theme, entitled Still Life, traces food photography’s relationship to one of the most popular genres in painting; Around the Table is a nod to the rituals of what and with who we eat; whilst Playing with Food features photography infused with fun and irony.

Organised by the Aperture Foundation, New York, and curated by Susan Bright and Denise Wolff, Feast for the Eyes, The Story of Food in Photography is on display at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, until 9 February 2020.


Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha
Spam, 1961
© Ed Ruscha
Courtesy the artist and Gagosian Gallery

Daniel Gordon

Daniel Gordon
Pineapple and Shadow, 2011
© Daniel Gordon
Courtesy the artist and James Fuentes Gallery, New York

Jo Ann Callis

Jo Ann Callis
Untitled, 1994; from the series Forbidden Pleasures © Jo Ann Callis
Courtesy the artist and Rose Gallery, Santa Monica, California

Grant Cornett

Grant Cornett
Sexy Sliders, 2016 for Gather Journal, food styling by Janine Iversen
and prop styling by Maggie Ruggiero
© Grant Cornett Courtesy the artist

Crisco, Proctor and Gamble, Cincinnati, 1949

Photographer unknown
‘New Recipes for Good Eating’
Crisco, Proctor and Gamble, Cincinnati, 1949

Joseph Maida

Joseph Maida
#jelly #jello #fruity #fruto #thingsarequeer, October 26, 2014
Courtesy the artist

Nobuyoshi Araki

Nobuyoshi Araki
The Banquet, 1993
© Nobuyoshi Araki
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

The Faro Caudill Family Eating Dinner in Their Dugout, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940

Russell Lee
The Faro Caudill Family Eating Dinner in Their Dugout,
Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940
Courtesy The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division