Fridge Art Seeks to Explain Your Food Fetishes

Categories: The Critic
markmenjivarfridge.jpg
Mark Menjivar
Looks like a party in the making.

For as long as I can remember I've had this nervous habit of opening up people's fridges. Whenever I visit someone's house, no matter how well I know the person, I get the irresistible urge to open up their refrigerator door and poke around. Some people would ask me, "Are you hungry?" No, no I'm not hungry. I'm just... looking. I don't really know why I do it; I guess I just like to see what sort of food people keep in there. Maybe it says something about them that I'm trying to figure out.

Photographer Mark Menjivar has the habit of looking in people's fridges too. His photographic series "You Are What You Eat" explores the undressed insides of refrigerators across America. (To view it head to his site, click on portfolio, then You Are What You Eat.) Originally, Menjivar set out to explore the issue of hunger. But as he traveled around the country, he become more interested in the foods people eat and how they effect themselves and the communities around them. Each photo in the series is an unfiltered look at a space that seems far more intimate once it's put to film. There's little explanation of the people whose fridges are being splayed open for all to see, just random bits of information from Menjivar like "sleeps with a loaded .45 pistol on nightstand," or "efforts have helped send millions of dollars to children in Uganda."

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Mark Menjivar
Snakes? Why'd it have to be snakes?
It's pretty fun to pick out the odd objects in each of Menjivar's fridges. One fridge, owned by a short order cook from Marathon, Texas who can bench 300 pounds, features what looks to be a frozen snake in the top right corner. A bunch of the fridges sport a half finished jar of mayonnaise. But the project is also more than just playng Where's Waldo with foodstuffs; the pictures seem to describe their owners and how they live.

Now if only I can stop rummaging around my friend's fridges. That, or start photographing them. 

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