Feast for the Eyes

The Story of Food in Photography



February 29 – August 23, 2020


The exhibition shows the thrilling history of food photography from the 1850s until today within art, advertising and fashion. The genre has existed since the early days of photography but is more popular today than ever.


We are what we eat. Food both fuels and shapes our physical bodies from the inside, and acts as an outward expression of our pleasures and our principles. Eating is one of the most mundane and carnal acts, yet it is also central to our rituals, religions, and celebrations. Food touches both public and private life. It can signify a lifestyle or a nation, hope or despair, hunger or excess. Ultimately, food is not only about literal taste, but also Taste with a capital T—both the way of life we aspire to and the building blocks of culture itself.


And so, similarly, photographs of food are rarely just about food. They hold our lives and time up to the light. As a subject that is commonly at hand, food has been and continues to be widely depicted. Today, photographing your food has never been more popular, and pictures of food—much like food itself—can raise deep-seated questions around ideas of family, tradition, class, gender, race, health, pleasure, and disgust. They can express how we live and how we value ourselves, and, at their very best, connect us to our dreams and desires.


The exhibition features photographs from the 1850s until today within art, advertising and fashion by more than 60 artists, five of which are Hasselblad Award winners (Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nan Goldin, Irving Penn, Cindy Sherman and Wolfgang Tillmans). It also includes a selection of international cookbooks. Feast for the Eyes covers this rich history through three dynamic themes, considering the genre of still life, the communities that form around food, and food’s irresistible call to play and humor.


The exhibition is organized by Aperture Foundation, New York

Susan Bright and Denise Wolff, curators




New Brighton, England, 1983–85
© Martin Parr/Magnum Photos
Rinko Kawauchi, Untitled, 2001
Courtesy the artist; © Rinko Kawauchi
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