Evidence of Love - Photographs of Our Birthday Cakes

KayLynn Deveney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


My chapter for The Photograph and The Collection is a critical essay reflecting on the role of the birthday cake within the family photo album.The photograph of the cake served at a family party has an important role in securing some of the myths of the Western family album. But what sets the photo of the cake apart from any other photo in the family album? The answer is this: Cake photographs look like classic crime scene photographs, like evidence. Consider - cake photographs tend to employ a hallmark use of harsh flash due to the proximity to the subject. Cakes are generally photographed unemotionally, matter-of-factly. And, like a photograph of a bullet, wound or bruise, the cake photograph does not speak to the scene at large but rather to a detail, an isolated but meaningful titbit. In the photograph of the birthday cake we find the smoking gun of family love. If we are interested in promoting an image of our happy family it makes perfect sense that we photograph our cakes and present them as evidence within our family albums. This frosting-covered icon, for better or worse, denotes the fact that we love and are loved. (My submission will be both visual and textual. The final piece will make use photographs from my own family’s albums.)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Photograph and the Collection
Place of PublicationEdinburgh, Scotland, UK and Boston, Massachusettes, USA
ISBN (Print)978-1-907697-50-0
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

This book is a volume in the series "Writings on Photography" published by MuseumsEtc.


  • Cake
  • Party
  • Family Photography
  • Album
  • Forensic Photography


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence of Love - Photographs of Our Birthday Cakes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this