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Feeder is a project dedicated to photographing people for whom I've made custom lunches (including depictions of the meal that I cooked for them and what they would usually have for their lunch) from 2006 to the present. Most of the people that you see in this series are people I've shared my daily environment with, first in New York and now in Helsinki.
When I first started this project, I was working as an institutional archivist in New York City. It was only my second job in America, and I was having a hard time with some of the awkward human interactions I experienced in the office environment.
Among many other frustrations, I felt disconnected from the people I was working with. The office is quite a strange and artificial social environment: we see each other every day and share a relatively small space, but we don't really know that much about each other. So I thought that I wanted to do something about that frustration of communication, and tried to come up with some of way of transforming that mundane, dead-end relationship into something more intimate and memorable.
I decided to invite each of the people around me to receive a lunch meal, chosen by them, that I would cook and serve free of charge. I chose lunch because cooking and eating is on the one hand something quite intimate, but also an easily shareable experience - all of us have to eat, every day. Because "you are what you eat," and it's one of the most charged issues in our lives, I thought I'd get the chance to peek my participants' life routines and learn something about each one of them through their food choices. This is the way the project I call Feeder started.
I photographed each step of the process, following a rigorous set of rules. The complete set of images for each participant consists of their hand-written questionnaire, their usual lunch (which I ate for reference as much I could), the customized lunch I prepared in accordance with their desires, and a portrait of them in the working environment.
Overall, Feedersucceeded in challenging the boundaries between myself and the others around me. By thinking of the final customized lunchbox as something like an edible monument, it was also my way of pushing back at the idea that some activities are deserving of monuments while others are not. Finally, it was a great way of learning tons of new recipes.