03 Apr, 2017
The ends of things
Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life
I was at the office the other day when someone asked me about my Daily Lunches project. I found myself babbling, trying to explain its end and I realized I haven’t thought or written anything about it.
In June 2012 I started taking photos of my lunch every day, no matter what. I took photos at home, at work, at conferences, on holiday, in meetings, with friends and family, in restaurants, at hot dog stands, parking lots, you name it.
Some photos were pretty, and some were not. Some meals were yummy, and some were not. Some had recipes attached to them; many were just things I threw together. But they all meant something.
Although some people probably saw this project as proof of modern narcissism or a project that is too boring to contemplate, I saw it as an art project that I lived every day. I didn’t, however, pretend that this was some high-level, magazine-worthy food photography. It was what it was… just plain real. My goal was to show a tiny sliver of a person’s life, of my life, and I think I did that. I look at the collection of photos now and I wonder what they reveal about me.
What does people’s choice of food reveal about themselves? This was something I touched upon in original post on the topic, but it touched a nerve for some. No one likes to be judged, that’s for sure, but honestly, I think if you ate ravioli out of a can for lunch every day there has to be a reason behind it. It may not be fair to guess what it is, but there has to be one. Right?
Related to this: I love to look at photo essays of what people eat around the world, don’t you? Here’s one from Time magazine. What do those photos say about the people who eat those meals? Is it fair to draw some conclusions?
I quit my Daily Lunches project on December 31, 2016. I was having a low moment – and it’s hard to be creative during times like those – and I just realized it’s done. I was done.
Strangely, I miss my daily lunches. I can’t pinpoint exactly why. I looked at the collection while I was writing this and realized I’d documented a lot of stuff there, beyond the bare bones of what I ate for lunch that day: what I was doing, where I went, who was with me, what I like to eat. Maybe it’s only relevant to me, though. I am ok with that.
I am feeling a bit down the end of this project at the moment. I suppose this up/down/done cycle is a lot like what I went through with Artist Trading Cards. I was crazy about making and trading them for years… until I wasn’t. I once tried forcing a return, but it felt wrong. I missed making those tiny little pieces of art, planning them, trading them, waiting for the mailman to come. That period was incredibly creative, satisfying, and fun. I felt RICH. My cup overfloweth. But, but, but, it couldn’t last. I have learned that it’s ok when creative projects come to their natural end. But it still makes me feel lonesome, even abandoned, in a way. You know what I mean? It’s as if someone closed a window in front of me and said: Sorry, you can’t look out that window anymore. Your time here, with this view, is over. There is a sense of sadness and yearning. I want to look out that window! I will miss the view! What I need to do, obviously, is find a new window. The question is, what will I see when I find it?