The Most Iconic Food Photographs of All Time

What makes a food photo stand the test of time? We asked some experts to weigh in, and chose a few favorites of our own.


Dorothy Lange, White Angel Breadline (1934)

Shot steps away from her San Francisco studio, Dorothy Lange's arresting portrait—both of collective humanity and an individual—cuts directly to the pains of the Great Depression. Her focal point is a disheveled gentleman, situated just off-center in the frame, clutching a tin cup. He's turned from the rest of the dense crowd, encompassing the depths of America's fall, and immortalized in one of the photographer's most famous works. Unlike most of her other iconic shots, this photo was not produced under the auspice of the Farm Security Administration. Instead, it stands as one of Lang's first attempts at street photography—and what an attempt. With one flick of the shutter, she captured the complex emotional tangle of the 1930s, from the down-and-out hunch of the primary figure to the hope provided by Louis Jordan, the proprietor of the White Angel Jungle soup kitchen. It is a potent reminder of the sustaining power of food and its capacity as a catalyst for social change. — Nick Schonberger, founding editor, First We Feast

  • Edilberto Durano

    How come this photo is iconic? Because of its age or what?
    Ed of

    • Don Bartlett

      Because is of a good subject Edilberto. It’s just like saying if I shoot a a Ferrari the guy who has a Honda’s rates should go up too. Honda has nice nice used cars for sale but why should he get credit for the ferrari?

      • Paul Erna

        Exactly correct

  • bob

    art is full of it

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