Chromogenic Print, 2016

Artist Statement

When first introduced, MSG was not the antagonized evil that it is often know as today. From the 1930s to late 1960s, MSG was commonly used in North America, often marketed under the brand “Accent” and advised to be used as another seasoning in addition to salt and pepper. As more paranoia came to surround MSG, Western attitudes shifted, assigning the negative connotations of MSG solely on Chinese cuisine. To this day, it is frequently only Chinese and East-Asian restaurants that are forced to attest that they do not use the seasoning in their establishment to assure customers that their business is safe.

A Visual History of MSG Marketing is a series of photographs featuring MSG containers and packaging which include a collection of Ajinomoto MSG (The first MSG company from Japan), Accent MSG (largest and oldest distributer in the West), and an assortment of others from around the world (Korea, China, Taiwan, Canada, etc). The photo series includes depictions of MSG before it became antagonized to present day packaging that is less explicit in associating itself with the seasoning. A Visual History of MSG Marketing is one component of a series entitled Accent.

Find more of Shellie’s work at

From Volume 4
Selected by Abby Ho, Managing Editor, and Elise Yoon, Poetry Editor


LooseLeaf is going riso! Submit to the latest volume. Click here for more details.