Food Stories of Change (2022) - photo series
(Re)discovering the old camera and food-related literature
During all the lockdowns, longer periods without seeing my loved ones, picking up my good old camera was, in the end, inevitable. Needless to say, the majority of the moments that have been eternalised were almost always related to food. However, me picking up the camera again has made me start many new creative projects, including this one.
Aside from photography, I’ve picked up other old hobbies as well, like researching cookbooks. Those books were gathering dust in my bookcase anyway. Reading these books made me realise that I still have a long way to go when it comes developing expertise on the numerous cuisines and cooking techniques that exist in this world, feeding the inevitable urge to create something food-related.
I started cooking more and sharing my food adventures on outlets such as @jessydoesfood. I also started doing more research on dishes I’ve known my entire life, diving deeper into Cantonese, Malay and other (Asian) food cultures. Things changed when I started a new job, which was quite demanding. The new job pushed me to think more efficiently about preparing food, as I often only had 15 minutes or less to prepare this meal. Lunch had to be treat: I was still working from home and that period of the workday was the only period without screen time. This and everything mentioned above completely changed my relationship with food.
The photo project
My renewed relationship with food forms the basis of this photo series. As many turned to sour dough bread making, following dalgona coffee recipes on TikTok, plant-based diets, rediscovering childhood favourites during these peak COVID-times, I was convinced that there are many of us who have experienced changes in their relationship with food since the start of the pandemic, both voluntary and out of necessity. This encompasses changes in all relationships humans have with food: in consuming, sharing, preparing and even cultivating food.
The people portrayed in this series have experienced changes in their relationships with food since the pandemic. They live in Leiden, like I did. I moved from Leiden to Rotterdam in the summer of 2022, after living in Leiden for almost seven years. This project is, in some way, my farewell to this wonderful city. The ingredients or food dish that accompanies their portrait tell their food story on how the pandemic has affected their relation with food.