The Depressing Reality of Desktop Dining


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It has recently been found that 6 out of 10 office workers in the US eat their lunches at their desks, too busy to take even a short break away from their day-to-day job.

American photographer Brian Finke has managed to capture the mundanity and sadness of this in his series, ‘Desktop Dining.’ The snapshots show 30 ordinary office workers who, like thousands of others around the world, fail to take enough time out of their working day to enjoy a healthy work-life balance.

Food Waste

Finke is distinguished for his colour-saturated style of photography, perhaps best known for capturing the offbeat moments of bodybuilding competitions last year. He shot his most recent piece of work for The New York Times Magazine in January and was curious to see the miserable reality of desktop dining first hand.

Visiting 10 companies in California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois, armed only with his camera and an assistant, he was able to catch people mid-bite using two off-camera flashes. Some were shy and suddenly aware of the way they ate. Others completely threw themselves into it, including one man who started to eat his rack of ribs in an enthusiastic fashion (much to Finke’s delight). “There’s nothing subtle about when I take pictures,” he says. “I like the feeling of pictures being in your face.”

A range of food was consumed, from soggy homemade sandwiches and greasy takeaways to supermarket bought pasta pots, salads and fruit bowls. Finke captured the “wonderful awkwardness of people multitasking”, perfectly embodied by a picture of one woman navigating her mouse whilst also holding a slice of pepperoni pizza. One man is even extremely prepared with a selection of sauces in a wire basket to accompany his salad bowl.


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There is no denying it is not the most glamorous affair, but this collection shows the banality is a reality. If you could easily be one of the people in the photos you are not alone. See the entire series here.


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Words: Sian Kissock

Tags: #culture #photography #lifestyle #art

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