Artist James Ostrer has put candy bars, ice cream cones, and doughnuts somewhere better than in our stomachs: in artwork.
As part of the Wotsit All About exhibit at London’s Gazelli Art House gallery, Ostrer’s photo series depicts humans covered in a sickly pile of $8,000 worth of snacks. He began by covering his subjects with tinted cream cheese and then added the sugary, fatty, and salty things we put into our bodies every day. European codes for food additives inspired the titles. (One work is called EF 125.5.)
The point? To bring to mind how junk food engulfs our diet—and to gross us out.
“My dad would always drive my sister and me to McDonald’s and we’d have a Happy Meal,” the photographer told NPR. He said that after his parents’ divorce, he dealt with the stress by eating. Later, Ostrer noticed how his diet made him sick. “It’s never going really to make you feel good,” he said.
The artist’s subject addresses a major crisis: One-third of the world is overweight. In the United States, where 13 percent of those people live, Americans turn to quick and unhealthy snacks several times a day instead of eating meals. Despite the alarming numbers, the food industry continues to market sugar- and fat-heavy products to kids and make it more accessible to an already at-risk population.
After working on the project, Ostrer told NPR that he didn’t crave junk foods anymore: “Now I kind of see them as sculpting materials."
Click through for a sample of Ostrer’s photo series, and see the rest here.