Curious Bites

Martin Parr's 'Real Food' Without the Soft Lens

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Martin Parr's 'Real Food' Without the Soft Lens
Photo Martin Parr, Taunton, Somerset, England 1998 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos.

British photographer Martin Parr, of Magnum fame, has compiled a fun selection of iconic food photos he took around the world during a twenty year period in his new book, 'Real Food.'

Whilst the title might conjure up romantic ideas of authentic, feel good food, what Parr has actually captured in many of his original photographs is the antithesis. Many of the photos serve of the reminders of the lurid or gelatinous food reminiscent of the 70s. There's no soft lens work at play, just sheer unadulterated 'real food' of the world in the broad light of day or even harsher light of the 'camera flash'.

“You go to a supermarket and when you open up the pretty packaging and look at what’s inside . . . well, the two are very often different. It’s a fundamental lie that we’re sold all the time. So this book is a kind of fight back. It’s saying that actually we don’t all surround ourselves with food that looks like it’s been shot from the pages of a food magazine. Normal food is quite different.” Says Parr of his book speaking to Phaidon.

The camera doesn't discriminate either - Parr points his lens at all types of food from langoustine to lemon meringue pie,  no better illustrated than his shot of two tea bag jars side by side in his studio - one labelled 'peasant' the other 'posh'. In a project that's as much as a social reflection as food fun, Parr reminds us, after all 'we are what we eat.'

Real Food is available for purchase through Phaidon.

Here are some examples of his creative work inside:


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