Mark Menjivar

© Mark Menjivar: Carpenter/Photographer | San Antonio, TX | 3-Person Household | 12-Point Buck
© Mark Menjivar: Disabled | Marathon, TX | 2-Person Household | Weighed 390lbs earlier this year

Another Santa Fe friend I've been meaning to write about for a while now, and who I feel I've neglected in taking so long to mention, is the talented Mark Mejivar. Like Deborah (see last post) he was one of the people I spent a lot of time with on my trip, and he was so enthusiastic it was infectious. The way he talked about his "you are what you eat" series was quite inspiring--his passion, and his true consideration for the social aspects of his project, were beautifully explained and pondered in his descriptions of his work. He's deeply concerned about food issues, and says it better than I can in his artist statement--here it is:

you are what you eat is a series of portraits made by examining the interiors of refrigerators in homes across the united states.

for three years i traveled around the country exploring food issues. the more time i spent speaking and listening to individual stories, the more i began to think about the foods we consume and the effects they have on us as individuals and communities. an intense curiosity and questions about stewardship led me to begin to make these unconventional portraits.

a refrigerator is both a private and a shared space. one person likened the question, "may i photograph the interior of your fridge?" to asking someone to pose nude for the camera. 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 soldiers in hitler’s ss, dreamers, and so much more. we never know the full story of one's life.

my hope is that we will think deeply about how we care. how we care for our bodies. how we care for others. and how we care for the land.

There's also a limited-edition food journal illustrated by Kate Bingaman-Burt (whose blog Obsessive Consumption I've been a fan of for a while now) with a small print by Mark; all proceeds go towards organizations doing urban gardening. I was lucky enough to receive one from Mark in the mail, and I love it. I can't figure out how to link to the actual purchase page, so just go to Mark's site and click on "food journals." You also have a chance to buy his work through 20 x 200, see here. Look for more of him in future, his concepts are very relevant these days.


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