Food For Thought: Exhibition at the Foam Brings Food Photography into the Limelight

Food photography is never just about the food itself, and has become an essential element of our dining experience as a representation of lifestyle, culture, relationships, and consumption.

Feast For The Eyes – The Story of Food in Photography, is inspired by a book that was curated by Susan Bright and Denise Wolff and organized by the Aperture Foundation, New York. The exhibition is currently being displayed at the Foam photography museum located at the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam.

Peluquería, Limones, 1979 © Ouka Leele

In-house curator Kim Knoppers collaborated with the two authors to create the exhibition at the Foam, which explores the relationship between two mediums that have become an integral part of our visual culture today.

Together, the curators have carefully selected photographs ranging from Roger Fenton’s nineteenth-century displays to IKEA’s experimental advertising campaigns, shedding a new light on our relationship with food.

The exhibition has been organized into three themes: Still Life, Around the Table, and Playing With Food. Still Life is inspired by painters’ much-loved subject, exhibiting pieces that play with color and texture, and range from the everyday to the extraordinary.

Around the Table focuses on the rituals surrounding food, and the important connections that food produces. Food plays a central role in our life, and is often a question of cultural identity. This part of the exhibition is both cultural and political, focussing on the human side of food photography.

Playing With Food exhibits the more experimental and playful aspects of food photography. Food appeals to the senses, and can communicate issues surrounding sexuality, tradition and culture. Joseph Maida’s ‘Things “R” Queer’ series creates absurd juxtapositions, taking inspiration from the social-media trend of food porn as well as Japanese kawaii (cuteness) (see photo below).

#fishy #donut #divers #thingsarequeer, December 1, 2015 © Joseph Maida


Popular amongst visitors is the campaign image by Ouka Leele (see above), but also the works by Martin Parr and Daniel Gordon. The museum’s Head of Press and PR, Merel Kappelhoff, explains that there is a “special one for every individual to find, as it is a really diverse exhibition with so many different works by different photographers.” Visitors will likely discover their own favorite piece, as there is such a range of images and themes.

There is a free guided tour (in English) every Thursday at 7.30PM. Only the entrance fee needs to be paid, as no extra costs are charged for the tour.  There are also walk-in workshops every Sunday that will center around food photography for the duration of the Feast For the Eyes exhibition. The exhibition is on at the Foam until March 6.

Post Author: Imelda Loakes