Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Photographic Art and the Food System: Take 1

The first of two posts on photography and food.

Back in 2007 Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma produced a fascinating book, Pig O5049, which is essentially a product catalog of the 180+ products produced from a single pig. The surprise is that the pig yielded not only predictable foodstuffs – pork chops and bacon – but far less expected non-food items: ammunition, train brakes, automobile paint, soap and washing powder, bone china, cigarettes. The book is such an effective way of communicating the disconnect between production and consumption -- that is our total lack of awareness of the inputs into the products we buy -- that she was invited to give a TED talk. As Meindertsma notes: “There are very many steps between the raw material and the end product in modern commercial production. And because there are so many steps in between, the knowledge gets lost. For instance, the pig farmers also don’t know all the end-products that are made from their pigs because they just don’t know where it goes.”

Here is the TED talk:


The book won an Index Award and the awarding group produced an interesting summary / presentation which is available here.

Even at full screen it's hard to read the print and get the full effect, but those wanting a virtual look at the book can do so below.

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