Amelia’s Magazine | Martin Parr: A Birds Eye View of British Mealtimes

Category: Art

One of the UK’s most celebrated photographers is unveiling a unique collection of images depicting the eating habits of Britain in collaboration with leading food brand Birds Eye. Martin Parr, who has been documenting real people doing everyday things for more than 22 years, was commissioned by Birds Eye to produce a unique snapshot of what makes up the typical, modern mealtime in Britain.

The exhibition entitled ‘A Birds Eye View’ features 30 brand new photographs depicting Parr’s four-month tour of the nation capturing every day mealtimes in regions including Kent, Cornwall, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Merseyside, London and Birmingham. The resulting photography displays a unique insight into a variety of meal occasions shared amongst friends and families. The moments captured include a group of young professionals sharing a midweek meal with a friend over Skype, a family eating a laid-back dinner in front of the TV and a household enjoying a traditional Indian curry.

The initiative by Birds Eye, which aims to celebrate mealtimes and the important role they play in people’s lives, follows the ‘Big Mealtime Audit’, a study exploring the way in which real people eat and interact with one another over food1. The findings found that one in five Brits (20 per cent) are eating as much as eleven times a day and spend on average just 25 minutes around the dinner table.

Lyn Pollard washes greens in preparation for a stew outside her tent at the Port Eliot festival in Cornwall. Camping and preparing food outdoors are two long-standing British traditions. In this case Lyn is cooking for her daughter and her girlfriends on a camping trip to celebrate her daughter’s hen-do. The stew is based on her own special recipe, combining fresh local ingredients, slowly cooking whilst they enjoy the festival events at Port Eliot.

Hansa Patel kneads traditional dough in her kitchen in Walsall, West Midlands. This dough is the base for many types of bread that she always serves with dinner. Her family likes to eat together, sharing classic homemade curries made with fresh ingredients and spices. Although served with a modern twist, Hansa likes to stay true to eastern cuisine traditions and recipes.

Pete Nicholls, his wife Rachel, and their children, Maya and Kai, enjoy their dinner of pies, mash and peas at home in Bristol. They are a family that likes to share their dinnertimes together, sometimes at the table, but also on the sofa watching TV. They enjoy great tasting food that is easy to prepare, going mainly for British classics, especially pies and mushy peas. Pete and his family explore different types of cuisine and always enjoy wholesome food together; mealtimes provide important moments for the family.

A BIRDS EYE VIEW: Martin Parr and Birds Eye collaboration
Sarah Dransfield serves a curry for her and her boyfriend at her home in Oxford. They are both working professionals and know how difficult it can be to make time to cook and share meals together. Sarah likes cooking good wholesome food, especially curries and stews, and makes them in advance so she can share a nice meal with her boyfriend during the week, without too much lengthy preparation. They like having dinner together, but are more relaxed and often share it while they watch TV and have a quick catch-up about their day.

Opening times: 9am – 9pm