Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement, often says, ” “Fridges are tombs – places where food goes to die.” I tend to agree that it’s easy to forget what’s buried in the back, easy to purchase more than you need and count on the fridge to keep things fresh, and easy to go a little while without opening the door if you’re used to a busy lifestyle or a very whole foods/fresh diet. The following post comes from Mark Menjivar, a photographer and artist based in Texas. This series of photographs was published in Good Magazine in May 2009. It’s an interesting reflection of how the contents of our fridges reflect our careers, our lifestyles, and our personalities. If you’re inspired by it, we welcome you to post a photograph of the contents of a fridge in response!
We purchase refrigerators the way we fill them: out of necessity-to preserve the milk; to keep the greens from wilting. But from the right vantage point, an open fridge is the perfect staging grounds for a discussion of consumption. And if the aphorism holds true-if we really are what we eat-then refrigerators are like windows into our souls. It’s that sentiment that’s at the heart of Mark Menjivar‘s inventive exploration of hunger, “You Are What You Eat,” for which he photographed the contents of strangers’ refrigerators. As you can see, whether it holds neatly ordered rows of labels-out condiments or zip-locked stacks of shot-and-gutted buck meat, there’s almost certainly a narrative to a fridge’s arrangement.
You Are What You Eat is a series of portraits made by examining the interiors of refrigerators in homes across the United States.
For three years I traveled around the country exploring food issues. The more time I spent speaking and listening to individual stories, the more I began to think about the foods we consume and the effects they have on us as individuals and communities.
An intense curiosity and questions about stewardship led me to begin to make these unconventional portraits. A refrigerator is both a private and a shared space. One person likened the question, “May I photograph the interior of your fridge?” to asking someone to pose nude for the camera.
Each fridge is photographed “as is”. Nothing added, nothing taken away.
These are portraits of the rich and the poor. Vegetarians, Republicans, members of the NRA, those left out, the under appreciated, former POWs, dreamers, and so much more. We never know the full story of one’s life.
My hope is that we will think deeply about how we care.
How we care for our bodies. How we care for others. And how we care for the land.
Owner of Defunct Amusement Park | Alpine, TX | 1-Person Household | Former WW II Prisoner of War | 2007
Carpenter/Photographer | San Antonio, TX | 3-Person Household | 12-Point Buck | 2008
Street Advertiser | San Antonio, TX | 1-Person Household | Lives on $432 fixed monthly income | 2007
Midwife/Middle School Science Teacher | San Antonio, TX | 3-Person Household (including dog) | First week after deciding to eat locally grown vegetables. | 2008
Retired Train Conductor | Jackson, MS | 1-Person Household | Started Meals on Wheels in his community | 2008
Red Cross Board Member | San Antonio, TX | 1-Person Household | Sleeps with a loaded .45 pistol on nightstand | 2008
Bar Tender | San Antonio, TX | 1-Person Household | Goes to sleep at 8AM and wakes up at 4PM daily. | 2008
Restaurant Owner | Waco, TX | 1-Person Household | Has a photographic memory for useless information. | 2009
Documentary Film Makers | San Diego, CA | 3-Person Household | Efforts have helped send millions of dollars to children in Uganda. | 2008
Botanist | Ft. Wayne, IN | 1-Person Household | Feels more comfortable among flora and fauna of his era than people. | 2008
Community Volunteer | San Angelo, TX | 1-Person Household | Completely blind and lives alone. | 2007
Anesthesiologist | Ft. Worth , TX | 3-Person Household | Youngest son works on lobster boat in Alaska | Day after Thanksgiving, 2007
Short Order Cook | Marathon,TX | 2-Person Household | She can bench press over 300lbs. | 2007
Graphic Designer/Print Shop Owner | 2-Person Household | Founder of http://www.DeliverUsFromLiberals.com | 2008
School Crossing Guard/Nursing Home Assistant | Austin, TX | 6-Person Household | Parents and 3 adult children live in an efficiency apartment. | 2007
Journalist/Designer/School Teacher | 3-Person Household | Austin, TX | Writes the obituaries for the local newspaper. | 2009
College Students | Waco, TX | 3-Person Household | Drummer for a Death Metal band. | 2009
High School Football Coach/Social Worker | Houston, TX | 2-Person Household | Counselor at LGBT crisis center. | 2008
Each caption is the title of the photograph above it.