Photos: Historic American landscapes, recreated in technicolor junkfood

Junk food, in the name of art. Two US photographers are filling their carts with sugar-laden cereals, processed meat and fizzy drinks to create a new kind of American landscape photography: the “food desert,” literally.

Inspired by black and white landscapes shot by 1860s photographer Carleton Watkins, Chicago-based duo Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman have created historic vistas out of 21st century materials. Their series Processed Views: Surveying the industrial landscape offers a Blue Mountain of Cake, a Cola Sea, a Fruit Loops River.

collage 4 saturated fat
Left: “Saturated Fat Foothills” (Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman) Right: “The Town on the Hill, New Almaden” (Getty’s Open Content Program/Carleton Watkins)

Watkins’ landscapes were mostly commissioned by mining and railroad companies for mapping and development purposes. Processed Views is designed to create a similar sense of expansion into unknown territory, evoking the mountains of food and drink commonly found in US grocery stores and wholesalers.

“With processed food, it seems we are pushing more and more into uncharted territory: coming out with new strange flavors and more varieties,” says Lochman to Quartz. “The pressure of marketing is affecting what we grow and the whole agricultural landscape.”

See the real United States Department of Food and Agriculture map of US food deserts here.

collage 5 blue mountain
Left: The American blue mountain made by Duncan Hines Blue Cake Mix (Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman) Right: Tutocanula, or El Capitan, Yosemite Valley (Getty’s Open Content Program/Carleton Watkins)
Title: "Moonlight over Bologna (ham)"
Title: “Moonlight over Bologna(ham)” (Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman)
collage 3 monoculture
Left: “Monoculture Plains” (Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman) Right: “Cape Horn, Columbia River, Oregon” (Getty’s Open Content Program/Carleton Watkins)
collage 2 bread mountain
Left: “White Bread Mountain” (Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman) Right: “Cathedral Rock – Yosemite, No. 20” (Getty’s Open Content Program/Carleton Watkins)
Title: "Cola Sea"
Title: “Cola Sea” (Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman)
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