Bent Objects: The 'Art' of Food

Terry Border’s photography gives food personality, humor, and human characteristics

Self Portrait at Time of Death.

Yes, Terry Border takes pictures of his food. But he’s not just snapping pictures of his sandwich to share with friends on Instagram. Nor is he photographing dishes for cookbooks and commercials. Instead, he uses his camera to give his food a little personality, and people are eating it up.

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With a medium-sized iced Americano in his hand, Terry Border headed over to the food section at Target. He walked up and down the snack aisles until a bag of Cheetos caught his attention. No, he wasn’t hungry. Rather, the positioning of the orange snacks on the cover of this bag reminded him of something, of French sculptor Rodin’s "The Kiss." Border proceeded to carry the bag to the register. He had found the subject for his next project.

Defining what exactly Border does is definitely difficult. Once a commercial photographer, a baker, and a wire sculptor, he shies away from referring to his current projects as works of art. But what is it then? His projects tend to make social and political commentaries. His images are witty, innovative, and sometimes even pornographic. Using wires, lighting, and his camera, he represents ordinary objects and foods in unique and clever ways. Border lessens the gap between the static nature of ordinary objects and the dynamism of human life. For that reason, let’s call it something, anything; let’s call it art.

Lately Border has been spending a lot of time with circus peanuts, since they are the stars of his first narrative book. A favorite snack of his wife and daughter, circus peanuts have been relatively easy for him to work with because of their hard shell and their likelihood to survive through more than one scene. Yet, Border has photographed much more than peanuts, and not all of the subjects have been as easy to work with. Hot dogs, french fries, marshmallows, lemons, eggs, carrots, pears, among many others, have been the subjects of his works. So many of these foods are fragile. Border admitted, "Donuts and hard-boiled eggs barely stay together long enough to get on the set."