The intent for my project is to provide an alternative view of our relationship with food.
It is my opinion that we take food for granted. I want to promote the idea that there are implications, ultimately for everyone, because of the way we eat. Consequently, I aim to produce images which not only have a painterly aesthetic (“Towards a Painterly Aesthetic”, 17 April 2017), that is portraying the characteristics commonly regarded as giving paintings their appeal, but which also bring into question our relationship with food.
I want to produce images which exist in their own right as beautiful works of art, even if the subjects are not visually appealing – exploring the tension between beautiful form (aesthetics) and ugly content (subject matter) – fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Morris, 2017. Bloodshot
This is far removed from the project concept as it stood in May 2016: a photographic exploration of British cuisine, iconic dishes and fresh regional produce with the working title of “British Food”. As “British Food” developed into “The Great British Food Project”, the project was in danger of becoming as much to do with cooking as it was photography, if not more so.
Time for a major rethink …
I think food photography has a very narrow objective which is limited solely to the promotion of food and its consumption (“Where Am I Now?”, 29 January 2017).
Sischy (1991) writes that “beauty is a call to admiration, not to action’ (“A Force for Change”, 29 March 2017). Whilst I do appreciate the beauty of food photography (it really is my passion), I do think it is exclusively focused on the aesthetic and could fulfil a greater purpose.
“The Photographic Art of Food”, then, provides a commentary on the issues associated with our food and the way we eat it (fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Morris, 2017. Eyeholes, earholes and …
Additionally, the project has a visual anthropological dimension, recording the evening meals consumed by school pupils on Tuesday 07 March 2017 in order to produce a series of ten photographs (fig. 3). This body of work will take a similar documentary-type approach to that of Mat Collishaw’s “Last Meal on Death Row” (““Last Meal on Death Row” … Mat Collishaw”, 3 April 2017).
Fig. 3. Morris, 2017. Sam
Both strands of the project, ““Junk” Food” and “Ten” have been interesting, informative and entertaining. Exploring the social issues associated with our food has provided a challenge in terms of subject matter, whilst both ““Junk” Food” and “Ten” have provided a creative challenge.
Where next? Research is continuing into the paintings of the 17th century Dutch artists which inspire me so much (in addition to looking at the work of contemporary photographers). There is still lots of scope to develop ““Junk” Food” and there is plenty of opportunity to explore variants of “Ten” – ideas are already on the drawing board.
As module 2 of the MA inches closer to completion, it will be nice to head off for a while and look at other, non-food related subjects to photograph – a few portraits and some still-life images – just to keep things fresh.