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"It tastes good, but it's not Instagrammable” is not a strange thing to say anymore. “Food porn” is another. We snort at photos of 70s dinner parties, but at the time, they were en vogue.
How food looks, how it’s photographed, is closely part of eating and cooking itself. But why, how’d we get here—why do photos of feasts do so well on Instagram and who’s contributed to the styles of food photography we’ve seen and see?
In Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography, curator and writer Susan Bright has compiled a stunning, sweeping guide on the history and evolution of food in photography across centuries and across all platforms—in art, in science, journalism, cookbooks, commerce. For anyone who’s interested in how food looks and how people have chosen to capture its—gross, aspirational, political, emotional—essence, this book is for you.
It includes everything from the documentary-style still lifes of Charles Jones in the 1900s to the perplexing, slightly disgusting images of (unhealthy foods?) on Weight Watchers recipe cards in the 1970s, to the neurotically knolled food in IKEA’s cookbooks. What's better: Bright's commentary on the trailblazing photographers add humor and insight that establishes these images in the history of the time, and how it relates to today.
The book comes out June 15, but we couldn’t keep it to ourselves until then (Amanda Hesser nearly skipped over to bring me the book). Below is a peek at just some of the ground-breaking photographs profiled in the book:
All photos (of the food photos) by Bobbi Lin.