Disturb an Italian family at dinner, and the chances are you will find them eating pasta while they watch television. In France, they are more likely to be having escalopes as they watch television. How do we know this? Because a French woman spent three years travelling in Europe, approaching complete strangers in launderettes, bars and garages, and asking to photograph them as they ate a family meal at home. "It was difficult at first," says Anne Testut, "but easier when I had examples to show them." A book of her photographs, published in France (with these accompanying texts by Testut and her partner, Alain Willaume - see above) as Europe a table, makes light of their documentary significance. The authors' preface, emphatically headed "Warning", states that "all the people in these photographs were met by chance". It is people, and the element of chance, that interest Testut: the food, one gathers, is incidental to the photogr aphs - if not their funding (the project was sponsored by France's ministry of food and fisheries). "My last project", she says, "was concerned with my family, and I wanted to continue working on families. I am not really interested in the food. What I am interested in is families when they are all together at home - which is usually over a meal."
'Europe a table', Les Editions de l'Imprimeur, 1c rue Lavoisier, 25000 Besancon, price FF145
Spain: Carmen, 68 years old, and Benito, 73 They had a chemist's in Portugal. When they returned to Spain, they opened a restaurant. Now, their two sons run the business and Benito can devote himself to his collection of coins. They eat at about 9pm: couscous soup, fried eggs with rice and cod, and a local wine which they bottle themselves - "in any old bottle".Reuse content