Don't walk into the Louisiana Art & Science Museum's exhibit, "Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography" on an empty stomach.

These pictures will leave you salivating, smiling and possibly seeking answers to deeper questions.

From Sandy Skoglund's joyful "Peas On A Plate" to the stirring "Eye of a Dreamer" by Jean Rene, known simply as JR, the photos evoke a range of emotions.

JR's photo shows a long, food-filled table crossing the border between the United States and Mexico. People gather at the table on either side of the border, however, from above, the table creates one community.

"It's crossing the border in the way only food can," says Denise Wolff, who curated the traveling show with author Susan Bright.

Organized by the Aperture Foundation of New York, the show runs through Sept. 16 at the museum, the first venue to host it.

The show is based on Bright's 2017 book also titled, "Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography."

The show divides the photographs into three categories: “Still Life” looks at how photographers followed and borrowed from painters' still life tradition, “Around the Table” focuses on rituals and the sense of belonging that takes place when food is shared and also reflects values and cultural identities, and finally, there's “Playing With Food,” which explores how food fits into humor and play.

"Feast for the Eyes" assembles works by well-known artists, including Andy Warhol, Irving Penn, Stephen Shore, Cindy Sherman, Nobuyoshi Araki, Paul Strand and Martin Parr.

The photographs show how food brings people together but also looks at the ideas of family, tradition, lifestyle, gender, race, pleasure and disgust.

One part of the show focuses on regional food.

"We felt that this was a perfect exhibit for us because of Louisiana's deep connection to food," says Elizabeth Weinstein, LASM's chief curator. "Food often says a lot more than what's on the table, especially in our culture."

Wolff, who came to Baton Rouge for the opening of the exhibit, says food offers that connection to home.

"If you're away from home, you miss it," she says. "It has a powerful sense of community, home and self."

In addition to artistic and commercial photos, the show presents photos from cookbooks in different eras. The books belong to Wolff, who grew up loving photographs of food. Her first job working with food was when she was assigned to the galley after joining the U.S. Navy. She learned then that food was more than just cooking and eating.

"I realized there were logistics leading to food preparation," says Wolff. "And I realized how there were other proponents to it. I saw where food was the best part of people's day and how it's about community."


'Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography'

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through Sept. 16.

WHERE: Louisiana Art & Science Museum, 100 S. River Road.

ADMISSION: $9; $7.50 for ages 65 and older and ages 3-12; $8 for the first visit, college students with ID.

INFORMATION: (225) 344-5272 or lasm.org

EXTRA: Four Ps on a Plate with BouillaBabes, 11:30 a.m. July 16, 23, 30. BouillaBabes Jamie Brown and Sydney Hawkins will teach how to prepare, pair, plate and photograph food. Cost is $7 per class, $5 for members. Bring your lunch, drinks provided.

Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.