How do you eat dinner? Chances are there aren't many of us sitting down with perfect posture at a dining room table, linen napkin on lap, carefully taking in and savoring each bite. Behind closed doors, you're more than likely going to find a New Yorker hunched over a laptop scarfing down microwaved leftovers or take-out from a plastic container while binge-watching The Americans. Instead of dining room tables we have floors, beds, stacks of books, laps, maybe a TV tray... and that's probably fine, but it also means we're making our focus something other than nutrition during dinner time. Like, screens, maybe...
Photographer Miho Aikawa captured New Yorkers eating for a fantastic series called Dinner In NY. She notes that "having dinner is not just about eating food, but portrays many aspects of our lives. We now do almost 50 percent of our eating food consumption while concentrating on something else. The spread of Internet, computers and cell phones in recent years has given people many methods of communication, and dinner has lost its original essence as an occasion to socialize with others. The changes in society, as well as the people who form them have lead to a shift in how we spend our dinner time."
She hopes her project "inspires people to rethink about their dinner but not necessarily change their dinner habits. I don't think having dinner with a cell phone and a laptop is bad or wrong way. Like one of my subjects was talking with her grandmother via Skype during the dinner and it could enhance the pleasure of the table."
On that note, Aikawa told us over email this morning that the project is not meant "to focus on lonely, bad eating habits in NYC," nor is she interested in documenting "bad eating habits in NYC." She simply wants to show how people eat dinner, "whether they are eating alone or not is not the focus of my project. I portray them just the way they are. I don't have any intent to direct the audience's opinion about them."
That said, we could probably all benefit from a little change in this area—this goes for desk lunches, too: