Photographers Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin began what would become the collaborative series Power Hungry as a look at the eating habits of famous dictators. They quickly found, though, that a disturbing pattern of lavish opulence and meager scraps was repeating itself, including in how people eat today based on their social status.

The project shows the food of the wealthy and powerful compared to that of the poor, and shows in direct, visceral terms, the imbalance that permeates every aspect of life, including the most basic human needs. Societies from different areas of the world as well as different points in time are represented by two photos: a spread of food that one might encounter in a palace (“Power”), and one that would be found on the table of the average person (“Hungry”). Arranged on the same table, they show how people from the same culture can live in completely different worlds.

Ancient Egypt – Power

Ancient Egypt - Power

Ancient Egypt – Hungry

Ancient Egypt - Hungry

U.S.A. – Power

U.S.A. - Power

U.S.A. – Hungry

U.S.A. - Hungry

North Korea – Power

North Korea - Power

North Korea – Hungry

North Korea - Hungry

Syria – Power

Syria - Power

Syria – Hungry

Syria - Hungry

Rome – Power

Rome - Power

Rome – Hungry

Rome - Hungry

France – Power

France - Power

France – Hungry

France - Hungry

Power Hungry shows not only how history has repeated itself time and again with the concept of “haves” and “have nots,” but also explores how food, and specifically the denial of it, is used as a form of oppression. Worldwide, hunger is still a huge problem for almost 50 million people, including people in the United States and other wealthy nations.