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Today's Special by Julia Ziegler-Haynes

15/08/2012

Fascinated with the subject of the last meal, Brookyln-based artist and chef Julia Ziegler-Haynes has illustrated the "special meals" requested by 24 death row inmates, in her new book Today's Special. The intention in creating this work is to examine the human condition through the contrast of capital punishment and the forgiving gesture of granting one last request. The resulting images are quasi-portraits of each individual. By purposefully capturing the meals from the vantage point of the diner, the viewer is then prompted to consider the solitude of this poignant moment.

 

"Essentially, these prisoners had become guests in my home. And so, despite having been immersed in the hideous details of each crime, I repeatedly found myself feeling empathetic towards them. Especially those whose requests were so meager," states Ziegler-Haynes. 

 

With a  visual aesthetic inspired by Christian Boltanski's "Compositions décoratives" (1976), and significantly influenced by the food styling from that era with its faded backdrops and unappetizing simplicity, Ziegler-Haynes envisioned how the food would look in prisons and then enlisted the help of photographer Ashley Macknica to juxtapose her versions with vibrant backgrounds to liven what she assumed to be the opposite of their actual presentation.

 

Today's Special is available as a 64-page hardcover edition from OHWOW.

 

Source - OHWOW

Jack Smylie

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