Behind every food lies a place, a face, a story. And there are many ways of telling that story. With words, but also with images, as the great Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani has chosen to do. During 2014, Toscani has turned his lens on the endangered products of the Slow Food Presidia, photographing the foods protected around the world by Slow Food. From October 8, these photographs, and images of the faces the photographer has met during his extensive travels, will be on display in Turin, in Piazza Carignano.
“Photography is a means of communication, a tool that allows you to document reality,” explains Toscani. “But food is a necessity, something atavistic that belongs to our origins. Photography can be one way to recount it, to document the everyday work of humans. For me food is sacred and essential and eating is a ritual, a ceremony. Photography must be at its service.” He continues: “Faces are human landscapes and each one of them has its own particular beauty. Together they represent an immense anthropological atlas, a great social factory, a lucid portrait of the time. The same goes for food, which is an expression of liberty, diversity and humanity.”
Photography can also reveal the profound contradictions in our current food system: half of the world is dying of hunger, while the other half has too much food, enough to waste. “Every food is drugged,” says Toscani. “Photography has a moral duty to communicate this contradiction, to document the lack of respect that rich countries have towards food, and, conversely, the positive stories that lie behind many products.”
The encounter between Toscani and Slow Food was a source of inspiration and enthusiasm from the start: “I can’t wait to be at Terra Madre. I’m excited and I’m sure it’ll be a great experience. Slow Food has done incredible work, devoting itself to a new food culture, one that respects foods and the environment that surrounds them. We have to start from here, or rather, start again. Because once, in our grandparents’ time, wasn’t everything Slow Food?”
Oliviero Toscani will be at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre (at the space dedicated to the Ark of Taste in the Oval pavilion) and will be photographing the products at risk of extinction and producers who will be arriving from all over the world.
Terra Madre According to Oliviero Toscani
Piazza Carignano, Turin
October 8-31, 2014