Spotkanie z artystą: AULA, ul. Modrzewskiego 12 – MARATON AUTORSKI, 10 października (niedziela), godz. 11.30
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Gregg Segal studied photography and film at California Institute of the Arts (BFA) dramatic writing at New York University (MFA) and education at The University of Southern California (MA).
Segal’s photography has been recognized by American Photography, Communication Arts, PDN, PX3, Investigative Reporters and Editors, The New York Press Club, the Society of Publication Designers, Lens Culture, and the Magnum Photography Awards.
He is the recipient of the 2018 Food Sustainability Media Award sponsored by Thomson Reuters and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation.
Segal’s portraiture and photo essays have been featured in Time, GEO, Smithsonian, The Independent, Le Monde, Fortune, National Geographic Adventure and Wired, among others. His first monograph Daily Bread was published by Powerhouse Books in 2019 and a German edition of Daily Bread was released in 2020.
Segal’s next book, Generation Z, a collaboration with food anthropologist Richard Delerins, will be released in the fall of 2021 by the French publisher Robert Laffont.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wondered why we produce so much garbage. Part of the problem is that the products and toys we buy aren’t made to last the way they once were. Companies need to sell you new refrigerators and microwaves and cars and smart phones every few years in order to be profitable and to grow. Economic growth fuels waste.
But is it only the fault of our economic model? Are we merely victims? It isn’t our fault that we come home from the grocery store with a load of plastic and packaging that goes straight into the trash, is it?
In 2014, I asked family, friends, neighbors and other acquaintances to save their trash for a week and then lie down and be photographed in it. I created the settings for the pictures in my backyard in Altadena, California: water, forest, beach, snow; no natural environment is safe from trash. Some question why I counted recyclables as garbage. Sadly, much of what we think is recyclable doesn’t get recycled.
Every year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans. Many cities have done away with their recycling programs because they’re too costly and inefficient. And China won’t take our garbage anymore. But the main reason I included recyclables in these portraits is because they illustrate a fundamental change in our relationship to food. We’ve grown dependent on the industries of eating and cooking and the result has been a massive increase in waste.
I began to wonder, how have diets have been impacted by this revolution in the way food is produced and consumed? It struck me that we don’t give enough thought to what’s in our food because we’re not the ones making it. We’ve outsourced the most vital ingredient of life, the connective tissue of families and culture. We often choose foods that are ready-made, inexpensive and satiating, but not very nutritious.
I thought, what if we kept a journal of everything we eat and drink for one week to bring our focus onto diet and health and take ownership of the foods we eat.
Beginning with kids made sense because eating habits start young.
In 2016, I began making my way around the world, photographing children surrounded by the foods they eat in one week. I’ve found that we’re at a tipping point. The balance of what most kids eat is dramatically tipping away from homemade stews and vegetables towards ultra-processed packaged foods and snacks, many of them designed to appeal to children.
Still, I’ve been encouraged to find regions and communities where home cooked meals remain the bedrock of family and culture and where love and pride are sensed in the aromas of stews and curries. The more we prepare our own meals from whole foods, the less trash we generate which is not only pleasing to the eye but easy on the environment.
There’s an old adage, “The hand that stirs the pot rules the world.” When the hand stirring the pot is more concerned with profit than in our well being or the well being of the planet, it’s time we insist on healthier options and whenever possible, stir our own pots.