We should all be using dinner as a time to relax and be social with friends and family.
But in our busy modern lives, the temptation to use technology as facilitator — or in lieu of — that social interaction is just too great.
Photographer Miho Aikawa has documented the changes technology has had on the most important meal of the day in her fantastic photo series, "Dinner in NY."The big question photographer Miho Aikawa asked with her photo series was, "what is a quality dinner?"
Dinner isn't just about what you're eating, but "portrays many aspects of our lives," she said. Because dinner is such a private time, it's a great window into another person's lifestyle.
Aikawa believes changes in the society around us are reflected in how we eat dinner.
The spread of the Internet, computers, and mobile devices have caused dinner time to lose its foundation as a social activity.
Scientific evidence supports this. Aikawa quotes a statistic for Public Health Nutrition scholarly journal that says 50% of our food consumption is done while concentrating on something else.
It's the change from eating dinner as a primary activity to a secondary.
People are watching TV in front of a computer, or checking email on their phones, and the social focus has taken a backseat.
However, Aikawa is not passing judgment on these changes.
"I have no intent on saying that having dinner with a cell phone is bad and eating alone is sad," she said in her artist's statement.
"My idea of this project is to propose what dinner is to people, how different it can be for everyone, and present the diversity found in this everyday act," Aikawa continued.
Her inspiration for this project came from her own family's placing importance on eating dinner together. With two busy parents, dinner was one of the few times her family could guarantee time spent together.
"However, now I understand that the dinner time we had together as a family had irreplaceable value to all of us, and it meant a lot," Aikawa said.
Most of her subjects were found through friends of friends.
For the photos, Aikawa asked people to dine in the way they normally would.
This gives the photos a voyeuristic perspective, which she calls one of the series' key elements.
Aikawa has also done a similar project in Tokyo, called "Dinner in Tokyo."
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