This photograph, taken by Shannon Calver, features two hands shucking an ear of corn that appears to have wires and chips underneath, suggesting that the corn had been grown with more help from technology than nature. The ear of corn shown in this photograph demonstrative of the effects biotechnology has on crops grown today. Technology has grown immensely since the time that crops were relied heavily upon by farmers and it has heightened productivity on farms in both growing and harvesting the crops. This photograph, however, questions the real health benefits of this rapidly growing biotechnology by presenting a visual representation of all the technology that went into creating one ear of corn.
In addition to questioning the nutrients of the corn, this image is also able to call into question the shift in farming styles that has occurred since the creation of biotechnology. By have two worn out hands, symbolic of a farmer’s, shucking the technology-ridden corn, the separation and differences between traditional farming with one’s hands and machines collecting the crops are highlighted. This idea makes the viewer question both what they are eating and how the food got from the field to their table.
Food and art intersect in this photograph because the image calls into question how natural food is once it has been altered by biotechnology. This photograph of food also becomes art when it successfully represents a greater issue through the details of the corn itself.
Limiting the boundaries of art might limit our understanding of culture because art is expressive; it is created through the cultivation of one’s emotions, surroundings, and experiences. Therefore, limiting these artistic boundaries would morph thoughts and ideas and repress the right we have to express beliefs through visual representation, as Calvert has done in this photograph. Without any written or verbal explanation, Calvert has captured a moment that very clearly questions the benefits of biotechnology and has succeeded in using art to make an attempt at understanding changing culture.
Calvert, Shannon. “Biotechnology.” Photograph. Food Art and Fun.