When photographers Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman wanted to visually interpret the ever-changing landscape of food culture and consumption in America, they took inspiration from another photographer known during the 19th and 20th century for his stunning vistas of the American West: Carleton Watkins (1829-1916). The idea to associate a physical landscape with a metaphorical food landscape was not unusual, but the photographers’ approach was. Both Ciurej and Lochman took inspiration from Watkin’s historical landscape photos and reinterpreted them to examine modern-day processed food consumption in the conceptual series ‘Processed Views‘.
“‘Processed Views’ interprets the frontier of industrial food production: the seductive and alarming intersection of nature and technology,” the photographers state about their series. “As we move further away from the sources of our food, we head into uncharted territory replete with unintended consequences for the environment and for our health.”
The duo — inspired by Watkins’s photos of the American West — saw Watkins own images not just as a reflection of “a land of endless possibilities”, but also as a result of the pressure to uphold the notion that America was a land of bounty. Watkins was often commissioned by advertising, railroading, mining and lumbering businesses to produce photos of an idyllic American West, stretching its industrial arms across a large swatch of the landscape, consuming large portions in the process.
Ciurej and Lochman say their photos of America’s modern-day relationship to food seeks to examine that same idea of “consumption, progress and the changing landscape.”