Grant Faint
Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017

Food porn might be enjoyable to look at, but if you think about the phenomenon from a socioeconomic standpoint, it has a different impact. Not to rain on the food porn parade, but these pics tend to demonstrate a sense of excess and privilege, especially when so many go hungry.

A new art exhibit in San Francisco really brings this often ignored side of food photos home to roost in a compelling project: A group of formerly homeless but often hungry young people in their late teens and early twenties were asked to take photos that document their own “food instability” – a visual counterpoint to the kind of food pics we’ve become accustomed to seeing.

Called “I Got Nothing,” the exhibit features images of things like ramen noodles, a plate with just a single bite of hamburger and a homeless man digging through a compost bin. The young people who participated were specifically asked to document their struggle with food in contrast to living “in such a foodie society,” according to The Guardian.

“People throw away whole loaves of bread, half-loaves of bread. It’s gonna go bad in a day. These people go out and find it. There’s a whole community of them, they live everywhere, in every major city in America. They take the trash that people aren’t eating and they eat them,” Josh Frazer, a 25-year-old whose photos are part of the exhibit was quoted as saying. “Pretty much, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been homeless or are just not able to pay the rent. You’ve done this at least once.” But this time those experiences, which are typically remain hidden from view, are finally being shown to the public.

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