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A voyeuristic view into strangers' refrigerators

March 01, 2013|By S. Irene Virbila
  • A carpenter's refrigerator, one of 50 fridges photographed by Mark Menjivar for his exhibit "You Are What You Eat."
A carpenter's refrigerator, one of 50 fridges photographed by Mark… (Mark Menjivar )

For more than four years, photographer Mark Menjivar photographed the contents of strangers' refrigerators for his exhibit "You Are What You Eat," which has traveled to museums and universities across the country.

In a short article by Mark Wilson at the Fast Company website, Menjivar said, "One person likened me asking to photograph their fridge to me asking them to pose nude for the camera."

Quick. Go open your refrigerator door and just look. What do you see? No straightening, editing, culling allowed. It's pretty revealing, no? And may not exactly fit the image you have of yourself.

"I have found underwear, snakes, pubic hair, bugs, batteries, placentas, a lazy susan, mystery items that not even the owners knew what they were, and more," Mejivar divulged in the article. "I think that the fridge can be a glimpse into a lifestyle that someone is leading. It can never be a full picture, but it can give us hints."

Hokay. Take the photograph above. That particular fridge belongs to a carpenter. Another, full of take-out boxes and a carefully folded U.S. flag belongs to a single bartender who goes to sleep at 8 a.m. and wakes up at 4 p.m. daily.

See more at the photographer's website. There, he explained, "each fridge is photographed 'as is.' Nothing added, nothing taken away. These are portraits of the rich and the poor. Vegetarians, Republicans, members of the NRA, those left out, the under appreciated, former POWs, dreamers, and so much more. We never know the full story of one's life."

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