Politics of the Kitchen: Dan Bannino
In our hyper-commodified consumer culture, food tops the list, and celebrity culture follows closely. Dan Bannino has blended both in his projects, Still Diets – Celebrity Diets as Classical Still Lifes and Neon Vanitas – Last meals of the Famous. Foods from the tables of the rich and famous are plated as art historical Baroque and Rococo still lifes.
Bannino’s passion developed primarily from the world of advertising photography, not time spent in the kitchen.
“… I moved to London to pursue my intention of becoming a full-time photographer,” Bannino tells Creators. “After a few random gigs, I ended up working as a product photographer for a research company, shooting mainly food….During those months working with boxes and boxes of the most bizarrely edible things, I developed a fascination for the topic. I started seeing daily meals and food shopping through a different perspective.”
Over-the-top indulgence and privilege describe favorite celebrity diets – bizarre, edible regimens that satisfy our puerile appetites.
New meaning is given to the phase “portraits of interior lives”, as we gaze at what is in guts of famous diners who have just slipped away from the table. While Bannino states in a Vice interview that “he is not working from a position of cynicism or criticism…that he is merely following a historical art tradition in his works,” the viewer comes away from the images with a definite opportunity for deeper consideration and judgment.
After viewing these sumptuous feasts, we pushed away from the computer screen stuffed and bilious, but wanting mouth-watering Memento Mori.
We can taste our tears viewing the last meals of the lost superstars in Neon Vanitas – Last meals of the Famous. This effect, may be more from Bannino’s eye popping use of theatrical gels than the pathos of the luminary taken from us. Fandom craves communion with the famous, but a generous sprinkling of garishly-lit skulls reminds us that our hopes are in vain. Neon Vanitas is a cautionary reminder that, like us, the high and mighty digest food one bite at a time…and then, they die.
Dan Bannino was born in Italy in 1988. After living many years in London, working as a product photographer, he traded a full-time job for dedicating full-time to personal projects. Bannino’s work has gained International fame and praise and has appeared in major newspapers and magazines such as The Times, Vice, Nikon, Artnet, WideWalls, Elle, Cosmopolitan and many more.
Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman are photographic collaborators. As an extension of their long-term examination of the domestic realm, their current work addresses climate change, consumption and connection through food.
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