A chunk of syrupy, ice cream covered waffle is fully visible in the man's open mouth. I can see a hint of his gapped front teeth, and he seems honestly preoccupied with his bite. His gaze meets something just to the left of the camera. Like many of Norwegian photographer Kristine Wathne's photographs, this portrait is awkward in a good way, depicting an act most of us engage in everyday: eating.
"I felt like capturing the awkwardness I feel when I'm eating, and at the same time portraying people," Wathne tells Creators. The embarrassment of literally biting off more than you can chew or self-consciously chomping a hard-to-eat meal in front of strangers is universally relatable, and the act forms the basis for Wathne's series Eat Repeat.
Wathne explains that one of her subjects, a woman in a blue bubble jacket and blue glasses, got over this self-consciousness in her old age. She told Wathne, "It's something you do every day, several times a day, so why be embarrassed?"
Wathne presents her Eat Repeat series in a grid, and it works especially well here. The repetition echoes multiple daily mealtimes and represents the cumulative act of eating around the world. The photographer's choice to black out the backgrounds behind her subjects with a strong flash speaks to her awareness of this universality. She takes these eaters out of their context and puts them in a grid, causing speculation on the performance in each photograph. I can certainly speculate one thing: I want that cotton candy.
See more of Kristine Wathne's work here.