What a Weeknight Dinner Looks Like for Different People and Families

Photographer Lois Bielefeld has always loved food; she notes that one of her chores as a child was to make a meal for her family on the weekends. After seeing the way food can bring families and people together, she was inspired to create her series, "Weeknight Dinners," which showcases the various circumstances and family dynamics that bring people together to share a meal.

Bielefeld's childhood memories fostered her interest in the daily habits of people, particularly those that revolved around food, which she sees as a great window into different cultures. She notes:

The project specifically was shot Monday through Thursday evenings as I wanted to capture habits and rituals that are shaped by the weeknight time crunch rather than the weekends, when people have more time.

Wednesday: Bruce, Heather, and Wyatt. 2013

Wednesday: Willie Mae. 2013

Tuesday: John and Janet. 2013

Thursday: David and Cathy. 2013

Monday: Joel and Florence. 2013

Wednesday: DannO and Amelia. 2013

Monday: Rina and Giuseppe. 2013

Monday: Nuco. 2014

Tuesday: Alden and Alan. 2014

Tuesday: Juanita and John. 2014

Tuesday: Seynabou, Rui James, and Marie. 2014

Wednesday: Rose, Delilah, and Abraham. 2014

Wednesday: Leo and Michael. 2014

Wednesday: Natalia and Maryanne. 2014

Wednesday: Ernesto. 2014

Monday: Paul and Linda. 2015

Wednesday: Norbert and Marie-Josée. 2015

Monday: David, Felix, and Dani. 2015

The series consists of 78 total images taken from 2013 through 2015 across the U.S. and in Luxembourg. In taking the portraits, she simply asked the subjects to prepare a meal as they normally would, lighting them and the room in a way that preserved the ambient light's feel. From there, she took 25-30 images before the subjects began eating. The results are a fascinating look inside the lives of many people all centered around one commonality: food.

Bielefeld is represented by the Portrait Society Gallery. Be sure to check out more of her work on her site.

Lead image: "Wednesday: Kathy. 2013"

All images used with permission of Lois Bielefeld.

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G Z's picture

Thanks for sharing, this was a fun and interesting project. I'd like to try this myself.

Tam Nguyen's picture

Those are some of the saddest dinners I've seen in my life :(

stir photos's picture

Haha... Right!? I thought many of them were sort of depressing, as well...

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

I don't agree. What I see is an honest window into true, everyday life for real, regular people as opposed to the glamorous social media version everyone promotes where every meal looks like a lifestyle photography shoot and every plate is styled and Instagram-ready.

I think I see where you're coming from, but I look at it differently. In almost all of the photos, it's two or three people. Just that by itself (having a person to dine with every night) is cause for happiness, not sadness. The one with the older gentleman kinda bothers me because you wonder if he's outlived most or all of his companions. But in that photo, as well as all of the others, I see people with food to eat and a safe, clean place to live. Nothing glamorous, but at least it's honest. It doesn't look sad to me, it looks honest.

raquel-edison-photography's picture

I love this. There's such detail in each frame--the intricate French furniture in one, ethnic knick-knacks in another. You really get a kind of glimpse into these people's every day lives (at dinner time). Very intriguing.