Pictures of Fast Food, Captured Using a Flatbed Scanner


Fast Food” is a series of food photos by photographer Jon Feinstein. The images have a rather unusual look to them — each food item is captured in front of a purely black backdrop, and is squashed on the surface as though it’s being pressed against a pane of glass.

Well, actually they were: Feinstein created the images by scanning the foods with a flatbed scanner.

In the project’s artist statement, Feinstein writes that he created the photographs to “investigate the love/hate relationship that many Americans have with fast food, and, like many other aspects of popular culture, its ability to be simultaneously seductive and repulsive.”

French fries, chicken nuggets and “specialty” sandwiches are scanned on stark black backgrounds, isolated from their common context, without name recognition, nearly floating in space. Under austere, uniform lighting; stripped of branding, packaging and iconography, the food takes on a disgustingly scientific, yet ethereal quality.

The project isn’t intended to be “propaganda” against meat or fast food, Feinstein tells us in an email. After all, the photographer himself eats meat, and occasionally even some fast food. Instead, the images “more about asking questions.”

In terms of technical details, there aren’t any camera specs or EXIF settings to speak of. After obtaining each food item, Feinstein generally spends less than an hour creating a scan — often while the food is still hot.

Feinstein tells Slate that he began “playing around” with fast food back at 2003 while he was in college, played around with it a little more between 2007-2008 while based in NYC, and then continued with the series after moving to Seattle earlier this year.













You can find this project and more over on Feinstein’s photography site.

(via Slate via Gizmodo)

Image credit: Photographs by Jon Feinstein and used with permission

  • Rabi Abonour

    I don’t really get the point of using a scanner. Is the way the food is pressed awkwardly against the glass supposed to be part of the effect?

  • Gochugogi

    I used to do this in the 1990s before I had a digital camera. Actually worked fine for many small products I sold on fleabay. Didn’t try food but flowers also worked great.

  • bruce

    A scanner? What will these crazy fotogs thing of next, using a camera made of wood?

  • 4dmaze

    Ha, me too. I had a Linotype Topaz and scanned moths, butterflies and other insects. Amazing detail.

  • Redstart

    These definitely need some artsy filters.

  • Dickybow

    Try doing a portrait. Roll your face over in time with the scan – bar. It looks as if you’ve peeled your face off!

  • sh0em0nkey

    I fail to see the artistic merit.

  • Furunomoe

    You mean, a large format camera?

  • Holy Shmoly

    mmmmm …. looks almost as good as it tastes!!!

    I can’t imagine having to clean that mess off my scanner.

  • Tyler Magee


  • Joey Duncan

    lol, I agree, it’s interesting to see, maybe because it’s lunch and I’m hungry. But *art* doesn’t come across to me. You would NEVER want this on your wall at home… It’s not pleasant by any means, and it doesn’t speak a story, so no art in my mind.

  • RMJ

    if it tastes how it looks, i wouldn’t put that in my mouth for a million bucks.

  • bob cooley

    Agreed. Art should evoke some emotional response from the viewer – “Meh” is not an emotional response :)

  • Whatever

    I think he ate the pickle off that one thing. There’s just an impression left!

  • DevourCatering

    ok, some of these foods obviously scan better than others