Food. Henk Wildschut

img_2165Food is a published book by Henk Wildschut that was commissioned to document all aspects of the food industry. The book has been put in to 4 sections: Source, Product, Hygiene and Protocol. I feel these are good basic guidelines to separate the areas of food based photography that need documenting. The book took him two years to produce, through research and photography. His final conclusion is that organic production isn’t always better for the environment, as excessive work on one side of the barrier often avoids other problems.

What i enjoy about the book is that it is so simplistically layed out, with easy titles and one word captions that directly explain the image, and its place in the process.

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Sperm
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Breeder

These two images are presented together in the book on a double page spread. I chose these two images as i feel it clearly shows the connection between the animals and the people in the book. What is interesting is that we are often shown natural images of the animals, but photos of the workers are clearly staged. I feel this may be a point to present the control that humans have over things, that they have thoughts on what they want to do and how to be presented, whilst we control what happens to the animals. Captioning the cow as ‘sperm’ completely demoralises the animal, presenting it simply as what the human is using it for, the reproduction. But the human isnt given any better standards, being titled ‘breeder’, they have been put on the same level, both just part of the process.

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The most important aspects of this book are the captions, and the raw images. Wildschut doesn’t hold back on the intensity of the images, not hiding any bit of the industry. Some images present things like the landscape, with the 19 degrees picture stating a fact, of where the process is happening and the temperature, but in a less shocking way. Then in contrast, the ‘sexing’ image is one that really took me. The size of the animals, the vantage point looking down on them, the intensity of the book, strongly channels the control of the man over the helpless animals. But the people aren’t given much more respect in ‘shower’, the male has been photographed in a vulnerable state, just like the animals.

The book takes a non opinionated approach to the food industry. The simplistic photography style purely documents the on goings in the factories and farms without presenting any opinions through captions. I feel what i will take from this project when photographing, is to remember not to pose my own opinion on the situation. As a vegetarian, it would be very easy for me to focus on the sustainability of the farm and the positives of what they do, but i am aware they also sell products that aren’t as sustainable in their farm shop, which is something i will need to document to record a fair approach to the project.

 

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