Brian Finke
Brian Finke

What tastes good? What tastes bad? Why? The answers to these questions are of intense personal interest to chefs, scientists, and the parents of picky eaters. It inevitably leads to this question: Where does flavor reside—in the food we eat or in the subjective multi-sensory experience of eating? And what is the evolutionary value of taste? To prevent us from eating something harmful or to encourage us to eat high-value food?

Our scientific understanding of taste has lagged behind what we know about our other senses, but that is beginning to change. To see how scientists are exploring taste and how chefs are exploring science, photographer Brian Finke traveled to 10 locations from New Zealand to Denmark, visiting research labs and test kitchens searching for a deeper scientific understanding of yumminess. “The Science of Taste” appeared in the December 2015 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Artist Bios

  • Brian Finke

    Raised in Texas and schooled in New York, Brian Finke defined himself as a documentary photographer at the World Press Photo Masterclass in 2001 and was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for Photography in 2004. The author of 2-4-6-8: American Cheerleaders and Football Players, Flight Attendants, and U.S. Marshalls, Finke has exhibited his work in New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Chicago, and Houston, among others.

    Finke takes a documentary approach, often spending years following his subjects, immersing himself in their lives in order to capture carefully framed yet candid moments that comment upon contemporary culture. He aims to “create images that heighten the everyday, to create a reality that is larger than life.”

    Finke lives in Brooklyn with his sons, Oli and Izi.


  • National Geographic

    National Geographic

    Established in 1888, National Geographic is a trusted print and digital publication offering stories that illuminate, inspire, and reveal. Our mission is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultures, the sciences, and the natural world. We advance that mission by creating visually stunning, richly reported photojournalism and distinguished, impartial coverage of the globe’s most pressing issues. National Geographic (@natgeo) has more than 284 million followers.

Science of Taste

 archive : 2016

Featuring: Brian Finke

Curated by: Todd James

Presented by: National Geographic
  • National Geographic


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