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Food and the Internet

Proceedings of the 20 th International Ethnological Food Research Conference, Department of Folklore and Ethnology, Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Łodź, Poland, 3–6 September 2014

Edited By Violetta Krawczyk-Wasilewska and Patricia Lysaght

Discourses about food, especially on social media, affect the dietary choices of many people on a daily basis all over the world. In recognition of this phenomenon, the selection of 25 ethnological essays in this volume explores the effects of the digital age on post-modern food culture. It examines the influence of the Internet as a provider of a seemingly limitless flow of information and discourse about food sources, production, distribution and consumption. It also analyses the attitudes towards food in the context of ecological, environmental, ethical, health, and everyday lifestyle issues – at local, regional and global levels.
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Picture Me Perfect: The Aesthetics of Food in Online Photographs: Astra Spalvēna


Astra Spalvēna

Picture Me Perfect: The Aesthetics of Food in Online Photographs

The history of the visual representation of food can be said to have started with painting and with still life works of art depicting food items, especially by seventeenth century Dutch artists. The art historian, Kenneth Bendiner, has argued that most still life paintings of food from this period condemned worldly pleasure and were called vanitas images, in which edibles of all kinds symbolised the insubstantiality of material life (Bendiner 2004, pp. 8-15). However, food paintings could be so appealing that there was a risk that this moral caution could be buried under a mass of delicious-looking foods, which stimulated the appetite. Carolyn Korsmeyer, examining the philosophy of taste, argues that food can play an important narrative role if it forms a part of a grander painting that tells a legend, a story from the Bible, or from history, but which lacks a meaning of its own. In the modern period, food was regarded also as a subject of art, with the result that its ordinary nutritional role, and its rational and physiological functions, were removed in this context (Korsmeyer 2002 pp. 156-167).

In paintings, therefore, food has had meanings other than those connected with the depiction of real cooking or eating situations. Food depicted in photography also lost some of its previous real-life meanings and acquired new ones connected with one of the basic functions of photography – to document life....

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