The way people socialize and dine together says a lot about their familial habits. Perhaps this is why Milwaukee-based photographer Lois Bielefeld traveled across the United States (and parts of Luxembourg) to document people during their Weeknight Dinners.
Bielefield admitted to Feature Shoot,
“I’m super nosy about people’s habits. I’ve always craved going into people’s homes- it’s inspiring, curious. It gives so many sometimes subtle and sometimes blatant insights about someone.”
The photo series gives an intimate look at how many families in the US dine together. From an anthropological perspective, it is fascinating. The only instruction Bielefeld gave to participants was to “go about their dinner plans” as they normally would on any other weeknight. The photographer was insistent to capture the ordinary meals and the casualness of the setting.
Some of the families knew Bielefield from previous projects, and others agreed to participate after seeing flyers on bulletin boards and online. According to DeMilked, the artist suspects some people put in an extra effort to prepare for the particular dinner. But she doesn’t mind, as it gives the series “new layers to explore.”
Before the shoot took place, Bielefeld asked questions about cooking and eating habits. The photographer is infatuated with the details of how households operate, including who shops, who cooks, and who cleans. You’ll notice that in some households, families eat together. In others, people eat in a variety of places — the floor, the table, or the sofa.
One of Bielefield’s favorite memories from the project is from the village of Bigonville in Western Luxembourg. The weeknight dinner was interrupted when a calf was born on the family farm. Bielefeld told Feature Shoot: “Nicole was preparing dinner and she received a call that her husband and son were going to be late.” The dinner worked out nonetheless, however.
The photographer even dished on how she and her wife, Jackie, eat their evening meals. Reportedly, the dinners are vegan-friendly, and tacos with Bielefeld’s “famous guac” make it on the menu quite often.
“I love meal time,” said the artist. “We chat and reconnect and share [stories] about our days.”