This Instagrammer Took Things Too Far With These Photos. Tarnishing India?

We are Indians and we are not delusional. Okay, maybe some of us are, but there is HUGE woke population in our country and we just can’t let some things slide.

On the 23rd of July, 3 days ago World Press Photo posted 5 photographs from a series called “Dreaming Food”. “Dreaming Food” was a conceptual project by Alessio Mamo, an Italian freelance photographer based in Catania, Sicily. The project was about the hunger issue in India. He went to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh with a cheap satin tablecloth and 4 plates of fake thanksgiving food to click these photos that were supposed to somehow address the issue of food wastage during Christmas. This was meant to bring out a contrast with the use of a typical Western table with luxurious food in a poor context.

Photos 4 plates of fake thanksgiving food in front of visibly poor people, was supposed to somehow address the issue of food wastage during Christmas.

On the 24th of July, 2 days ago, Alessio Mamo released an apology for offending people. Saying that “The people I photographed were living in a village and they were not suffering from malnutrition anymore, they were not hungry or sick, and they freely participated in the project.” and “The only goal of the concept was to let western people think, in a provocative way, about the waste of food.”

There are so many things wrong here and it hurts me to have to point them out-

Purely from the perspective of this being a photograph- The photos aren’t balanced. The red used for the contrast is too much and looks like cheap satin. The fake food looks visibly fake and honestly, the table looks like it’s been photoshopped. The compositions aren’t pleasing and were destined to receive negativity even if they hadn’t been offensive.


“I brought with me a table and some fake food, and I told people to dream about some food that they would like to find on their table.”

From the perspective of an Indian who has spent time with village children- This is inappropriate. I’m sure all the people photographed were really happy to be in front of the camera. These people know that they’re poor, they don’t need to be reminded of that. You take a table full of food that they’ve never seen and will never see and can’t taste (because it’s fake) and give them an image of something they might never achieve for what? A photo that has an unclear message? I’m trying to believe that his intentions were pure, that he actually cares and this wasn't just a publicity stunt because we've totally never seen the West use rural India to bring some aesthetic to their photos, music videos and movies. You can’t just go to a village and reinforce the poverty of these people because you want rich people to stop wasting food. Food wastage is a major issue, I couldn't agree more, but there has to be a different way to make an impact. Something that doesn’t involve exploiting the innocent minds of these people.

WRITTEN BY  - Shubhroja Sen



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