Saturday, July 16, 2005

Photographing food as an aid in improving control

I found an interesting thesis online: Visualizing Health: Imagery for data in changing personal practice by Jeana Frost. It appears to be from MIT Department of Media Arts and Sciences.

The thesis is about taking photographs as part of a diabetes care program, with the goal of improving how diabetics see their behavior. The author had diabetics take pictures of such things as their meals, inside their refridgerators, tables with food on it, food on the stove, etc. The photographs were then shown in front of other diabetics in a classroom situation, for feedback and critique. This helped the participants see their habits more honestly, and provided a tool to see what was actually happening with their diets.

Today, my photographs would consist of a series of Diet Pepsis, two cans of Slim Fast, and two oranges. Actually, I'm downright starving, and I'm thinking about a to-go order from the Korean restaurant of sashimi and rice, of course watching the quantities. I would have to think about the vegetable. I wonder if they have anything that's not fried. Hmmm. Should I take a picture of it?

The idea of taking pictures of diabetics' food is pretty brilliant. I would never have thought of that. I'm considering it as a supplement to my food records.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Here's how my head works. I pictured photographing everything I ate every day for a couple of weeks, and posting it on the web, along with my diet, for the dieticians to see. Or, alternatively, attaching the photographs to the charts where I'm supposed to keep track of my food. Then I realized that this could actually be performance art -- everything I put into my mouth photographed, and assembled into an installation or display of some kind. The ideal, though, would be to get hold of some of that plastic food, and actually show full size versions of everything I eat. Diabetic artwork, sort of. What do you think?

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