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© Julian Castronovo

Dine In / Take Out

Artist: Julian Castronovo

Project: All You Can Eat

Description: Photographer Julian Castronovo’s project, All You Can Eat, traverses the visually distinct subject of Chinese restaurants as they appear throughout the South. Inspired by his family’s history as grocers in Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta, Castronovo made this series of images in the summer of 2018 as a way to explore the “complex entanglements of race, space, and aesthetics” present in these cultural landmarks, and also to ask the question, amid this contemporary Southern environment, of what exactly it means for a space to be “Chinese.” In these photos, compiled from various establishments, Castronovo isolates examples of colloquial architecture and interior shots of candid, tableside scenes, all of them unique yet linked, however loosely, by the Chinese-American dining experience. All You Can Eat, he writes, presents the “slow poetry of a world of red dirt and General Tso’s chicken, of lonely restaurants in small towns and cities . . . spaces of contradiction and kitsch, spaces built from crystal chandeliers, vinyl booths, and plastic lucky cats that wave as you come in and continue waving long after you’re gone.”

Eyes on the South is curated by Jeff Rich. The weekly series features selections of current work from Southern artists, or artists whose photography concerns the South. To submit your work to the series, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Julian Castronovo

Julian Castronovo is a photographer and filmmaker based in Providence, Rhode Island. He is a third-year student of Modern Culture and Media and Literary Arts at Brown University.