‘Bombay Eats’ Is A Multisensory Zine Fusing Food Photography & Mumbai's Typographic Soul

Bombay Eats
Bombay EatsAashim Tyagi

Bombay, with its inherent romanticism, has been the muse for many artists. It is a city that pulses with life, diversity, and a rich culture. Photographer Aashim Tyagi captures this dynamic essence of Mumbai in the first issue of the Street Type Archive’s poster zine, ‘Bombay Eats’. The zine is an exploration of the city's eateries, with a particular focus on the interplay between food, typography, and urban culture.

'Bombay Eats' is a photographic record as well as a sensory journey through Mumbai's culinary heart. Each page of this A4-sized zine, which folds out into an A3 poster, is a window into the buzzing restaurants and street food stalls that define Bombay's food scene. Tyagi's lens captures not just the food but the very essence of the places where it is enjoyed with the help of the typography that adorns signs, menus, and shop fronts.

Typography in Bombay is as diverse as its population. From the ornate, hand-painted signs of traditional sweet shops to the bold, modern fonts of upscale cafes, the city's typographic landscape tells a story of its own. These visual elements, often overlooked, are crucial in understanding the cultural and historical context of the city. Through his photographs, Tyagi allows us to see Bombay not just as a place to eat but as a living, breathing entity where every sign and letterform contributes to its identity.

Throughout 'Bombay Eats', food and typography intertwine to form the fabric of Bombay's culture. Each place and location featured in the zine is accompanied by field notes that provide context and insight into the selection. These notes reveal the stories behind the signs, the history of the establishments, and the cultural significance of the dishes served.

While an image may convey the primary subject matter, the surrounding details often provide additional context and meaning.  For example, a photograph of, say for example, a vada pav stall, can offer more than just information about the food itself. The design of the accompanying sign, with its choice of typeface and colour scheme, can contribute to the overall impression. A hand-painted sign might suggest the dynamic nature of the city and the individuality of the vendor. Conversely, a minimalist menu in a modern cafe might communicate the establishment's focus on contemporary design and sophistication. These examples illustrate how visual elements beyond the primary focus area can provide valuable insights into the surrounding environment and its associated culture.

The format of 'Bombay Eats' enhances the reader's experience. The posters within are not just visually striking but also serve as tangible artefacts of the city’s typographic and culinary landscape. The remaining pages feature six additional photographs and a page of field notes, offering a bite-sized yet immersive journey into Bombay's streets.

'Bombay Eats' is just the beginning. Tyagi envisions this zine as the first in a series that will explore different cities, each with its own themes and stories. This ongoing project promises to be a valuable archive of urban landscapes, one that captures the essence of cities through their typographic and culinary expressions. With each new issue, readers will be taken to different locales todiscover the rich culture of a city through the lens of food and typography.

Follow Aashim Tyagi here.