I'm in the paper! : aka food narratives

In September, I'll be hosting a Food Styling and Photography workshop at Carindale Library as part Food Tales project. And we're featured in The Courier Mail talking about food porn and food narratives.

Some regional favourites from the Majestic Café
A joint initiative of Queensland Writers Centre and the State Library of Queensland, Food Tales celebrates the many traditions, cultures, and memories contained within recipes and the narrative of food. It was a really cool project to work on. In my two years managing the touring program I had the opportunity to work with some amazing food writers and cooks, and visit some of the most extraordinary areas of regional Queensland - and eat a hell of alot of tasty, tasty noms.

Food really is a unifying theme. Regardless of your taste or economics, the process of preparing a dish however elaborate, of the ingredients available, of sharing a meal, of documenting that process, is a strong narrative of not only of instruction and memory, but is such a worthy signpost of a time, place, character, and meaning.

Food stories can be recipes, memories, photos, or reviews, and each contribute to a community and historical narrative. Everyone has a story to tell.

It's a project I'm passionate about, and one that has taken on new life in these Food Styling and Photography workshops.

A great example of documented access from the Whitsundays
This region is one of the largest produce growers in Australia
and as a result, fresh produce is high-quality and readily available
Most people don't view photography as a narrative form, but a photo, any photo, has a story - whether in its creation or in the image. Something as simple as food photography has a wealth of sensory information in the form of visual cues to communicate a narrative, and how an audience interprets those cues and constructs meaning determines a 'successful' food image.

It's quite a technical form, but ridiculously creative as well. And as much as 'food porn' has flooded social media, it will always be a genre rich in story and subsequently shared. Food photos share so much about who we are and are a way to document time. It's amazing to watch how trends in food styling and the recipes themselves change over time.

That said, 'food porn' as a sharing exercise is really a luxury of first world countries, but documenting food - access, ingredients, preparation, and sharing - provides meaningful engagement with a time, a place, and a culture.

For more photos and stories from the Food Tales trail, visit the Food Tales website and the Food Tales Facebook page. The project officially concluded in 2013, so most of the content acts as an archive.


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