Food Fights


I picked up the Sunday Times Magazine yesterday and was shocked to find this photo of food being wasted (and I mean wasted!):

photo courtesy of The New York Times

First, it’s an impressive photograph. It’s striking art, for sure.

But given that the Food Issue discusses how we should (re)value food, the photo on its cover has the wrong tone. I would have preferred some of the illustrations found inside the magazine.

There are three distinct covers, all shot by German photographer Martin Klimas. The other versions include an apple and a pumpkin being obliterated. For no apparent reason.

OK, fine, the photo alludes to the issue’s “Food Fights!” title. But that picture isn’t a fight, it’s a massacre.

I’m curious: What’s your take on the cover? Beautiful? Hideous? Both?

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  1. Posted October 13, 2008 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I guess it was both hideous and beautiful. I think it would attract a certain audience to read it. Also some of the content was the same–both hideous and beautiful. I think the guy at the convience store where I bought the New York times yesterday may have thought the price was hideous. It rang up at $5 plus tax and he kept thinking he did something wrong! And then ask me if I really wanted to pay that much for it!

  2. Posted October 13, 2008 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Ha. Every time I look at my NYT bill, I ask myself that very question (I’m paying a hideous $6 for Sunday home delivery). Then again, it seldom disappoints…

  3. Posted October 13, 2008 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    You make a good point about the cover. But I think there’s a difference in something being destroyed to make art, which arguably this is, as opposed to routinely, uncaringly wasted on a massive scale like we do in this country. It did occur to me that this issue really should have had a feature devoted to waste and composting; while there were many things missing, that one stuck out to me.

  4. Posted October 13, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Yes, technically it is beautiful. Yes, it grabs your eye. But, I agree with you, Jonathan, it’s not the right tone. But, then again, we live in a visually violent culture (many Hollywood films & most videogames come immediately to mind). You don’t have to pull out the guns to have a good fight!

  5. Jim
    Posted October 13, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone written the editors (or did they state in print in the same issue) asking if this was a genuine ear of corn, apple, or pumpkin?

    As someone who uses Photoshop to manipulate photos I can identify that some non-trivial Photoshop work was done on the corn photo.

    These days, especially in the print media, do not assume that any given photo is entirely what it appears to be. While this has been true with fashion ‘zines for decades, more recent advances in computer capability and Photoshop’s features has made all types of photography subject to “electronic artistic interpretation” with very little (relative) time/money investment. It’s technically very cool, but it’s also practically getting a little scary.

  6. Mel
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Erm…I may be mistaken here but it doesn’t even look like real corn on the cob. I am a farm girl and it looks strangely fake. So not sure if it’s not just some fake art or what.

  7. Posted October 14, 2008 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Interesting questions…
    Based on the description on the inside cover of the magazine, the photos are of real produce:

    Klimas, who is somewhat guarded about his technique, did not produce his explosions by computer; he actually photographed the (pick one) corn/apple/pumpkin as he fired a “projectile” into it.

    I guess the photos may then have been enhanced with Photoshop, as Jim suggests.

  8. Posted October 14, 2008 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I start to wonder how many “takes” for the picture. How many cobs of corn were “harmed” in the creation of this image?

  9. Posted October 18, 2008 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    I hate food waste.

    But that image is striking. It looks like it should be viewed while wearing 3-D glasses.

    An arresting image will get more people reading the articles.

    -Katy Wolk-Stanley
    “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”