On the Wall: Exploring What it Means to Eat

A manual laborer rests amidst sacks of cocoa at Saf Cacao in San Pedro, Ivory Coast. Peter DiCampo is a documentary photographer He was selected to participate in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2013; was named one of PDN's 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2012; and was a member of the VII Mentor Program from 2010 – 2012. Peter is co-creator of Everyday Africa, a project focused on daily-life images from across the continent to refute the stereotypical media image of Africa. See more of his work here. © Peter DiCampo
Catholic Nuns prepare breakfast at a Church in downtown Myitkyina, Myanmar. Kachin state in Burma is a separatist region, a world apart from the rest of the country, teetering precariously between peace and war. In 2011, the Burmese government reignited an ethnic civil war against the Christian Kachin, breaking a 17-year-old cease-fire. The Church has become even more important since renewed fighting as the ethnic minority battles to preserve its culture. Diana Markosian has participated in the World Press Joop Swart Masterclass, received Burn Magazine's Emerging Photographer Fund and has been named one of PDN's 30 Photographers to Watch. See more of her work here. © Diana Markosian
Dinka children in the cattle camp at dawn in South Sudan. In southern pastoral communities, cattle are of paramount importance. They are treated as members of the family, each one receiving a name. If even one cow in a herd of hundreds goes missing, its owners will know within hours. Pete Muller is an award-winning photojournalist and multimedia reporter based in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2011, Muller was named Wire Photographer of the Year by TIME Magazine. In 2012, he was awarded the John Faber Award for Best Photographic News Reporting from the Overseas Press Club of America. See more of his work here. © Pete Muller
Kala Lakavath a "cotton widow" in Andhra Pradesh, India, prepares for a long day in the fields to pay off her family's debts. Her husband committed suicide by drinking pesticide three years ago. Andhra Pradesh, India. November 15, 2013. Andrea Bruce is a documentary photographer who brings attention to people living in the aftermath of war. In 2012 she was the first photojournalist to be awarded the Chris Hondros Fund Award. See more of her work here. © Andrea Bruce
In Nicaragua, the average life span of men who harvest sugarcane is 49 years. At the root of these early deaths is an epidemic known as Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown origin (CKDu). In the town of Chichigalpa, often called the "Island of Widows," 1-in-3 men, mostly cane workers, are in end-stage renal failure from a disease that is both a public health crisis and a social injustice. In Central America alone, more than 10,000 sugarcane workers have become sick or have died from this illness in the past twenty years. Research on the subject of CKDu has indicated that repeated dehydration, severe heat, and environmental toxins might play a huge part in the rising death toll among sugarcane workers. This disease is of global concern, and not only because multiple countries like southern Mexico, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, India and other tropical or subtropical countries, are battling CKDu. After all, nearly everyone on earth consumes sugar in some form, and the United States alone imports a large portion of Nicaragua's sugar exports. Ed Kashi has won numerous awards, is a member of VII Photo Agency and founder of Talking Eyes Media. See more of his work here. © Ed Kashi
A group of migrant farm workers pruning apple trees on an orchard in Gardiner, New York, can be seen taking a lunch break on a Sunday Afternoon. They have been known to work everyday of the week. All four of them are from different parts of Mexico and send money back regularly to their family still living there. Justin Maxon was invited to participate in World Press Photo's 2010 Joop Swart Masterclass. Grants awarded include the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, the FotoVisura Grant, the Alexia Foundation Professional Grant, and the Aaron Siskind Foundation Fellowship. See more of his work here. © Justin Maxon
On an early morning on a sidewalk in Kolkata, men take their hot cups of just-blended chai, black tea enhanced with sweet milk, ginger and cardamom (and, for an extra charge, a little saffron). As soon as the clay cups are drained, they're thrown to the ground to shatter. No dishwasher needed, no paper or plastic wasted. It's the ultimate recycling (or a metaphor for reincarnation): Once the shards break down into clay again, fresh earthenware cups can be made. For more than 25 years, Bob has been a globe trotting, award-winning photojournalist, working on contract for National Geographic, LIFE and Fortune magazines and freelancing for many publications and corporations. See more or his work here. © Bob Sacha
USA - Oil and Gas
Mirabelle, 3, watches her father from inside the family farm pick-up truck. Fred Lyssy, left, does evening chores around the family's 564-acre organic farm. Fracking activity surrounding the Lyssy's farm in the Eagle Ford Shale has brought dangerous air emissions, including benzene and hydrogen sulfide, which cause great concern for the Lyssy family and their legacy farm. Lance Rosenfield is a freelance photographer based in Washington, DC. Lance's project 'Thirst for Grit' was chosen as a finalist for the 2009 Emerging Photographer Grant awarded by the Magnum Foundation, as well as the Michael P. Smith Grant for Documentary Photography. See more of his work here. © Lance Rosenfield
A young girl works at a potato farm in Gaza City, near the border with Israel, in the spring of 2010. The Gaza Strip, a sliver of land only 360 square kilometers, contains roughly 1.4 million people, making it one of the world's most densely populated places. Eighty percent of Gaza's Palestinian residents live in poverty, and food shortages are commonplace. Since 2007, when the Islamist political faction Hamas took power in Gaza, a strict Israeli embargo has meant that only a limited supply of food and other resources are permitted into the region. Over the past few years, ongoing clashes between militants and the Israeli military have only added to the challenges facing Gazans who seek to cultivate and harvest their own crops. Katie Orlinsky is currently a contributor with Reportage by Getty Images and regularly works for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Le Monde and various non-profit organizations around the world. See more of her work here. © Katie Orlinsky
The ocean is man's last true relationship with the wild. Fishermen and the waters they work cannot be separated. And to save one, you must save the other.For me this meant looking for the places where man and ocean touch. The heroes, villains, and ultimate solutions of the ocean crisis are not clear. But if we look hard enough, the way forward may soon be. Dominic Bracco II has worked for The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Dominic is also a founding member of the collective Prime. See more of his work here. © Dominic Bracco II

Eating food — it's an everyday occurrence that many of us are lucky enough to think very little about. We eat to survive and we eat to celebrate, but very rarely do we stop and consider the stories behind the daily meals we consume.

"Appetite: The Culture of Food," which opened last night in Brooklyn's Air Circulation gallery, seeks to tell these stories. The show features work from a powerhouse lineup of photojournalists such as Ed Kashi, Andrea Bruce, Diana Markosian, Justin Maxon and more; it spans 11 different countries and explores a variety of narratives about what it means to eat.

“People eat food every day and they often don’t think about the lengths that it takes for food to be put on your table,” Melanie Burford, the show’s curator, tells American Photo. “I wanted people to really think about the stories that allow them to eat chocolate, not just take for granted the meals that we have everyday.”

Lengthy artist statements accompany every photograph as a way to give context to the larger body of work that each image was pulled from. According to Burford, many of the images featured in the show came from stories that weren’t originally focused on food.

“The biggest strength of the work is the images came from very important stories,” she says. “The greater body of work that these photographers were doing was surprising to a lot of people not knowing about kidney failure in people who are cutting sugar cane in Nicaragua or these farmers who were committing suicide in areas of India.”

Joyous moments with food are presented alongside the moments of strife and food insecurity. Although the stories aren’t necessarily cohesive at first glance, Burford says there is something about the emotional quality in each image that makes it work. “Every image is like a little piece in a jigsaw puzzle. It all helps tell an overriding story,” she says.

"Appetite: The Culture of Food" will be on view at Air Circulation until Oct. 12, 2014. The gallery is open on Sundays from 12-6 p.m. and by appointment the rest of the week. Private viewings of the show can be scheduled by emailing info@aircirculation.org.

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