Food Photography: Modern day Indulgence or nuisance?

I’ll venture that in virtually all restaurants around the world, someone is at this moment photographing their food. Here in Rome, where consuming even a simple fried artichoke is a religious experience, photographing the plate has become essential to the culinary ritual.

Food porn, as its known, has increased thanks to smart phone cameras. Yet shooting a plated meal is not enough of a thrill anymore. At lunch the other day at one of my favorite seafood restaurants in Trastevere, our waiter posed proudly with a live 20 lb. lobster — the claws were as big as my head — as half a dozen frothing patron-paparrazi  snapped furiously, and exported immediately to Tumblr, Twitter, Pintrest and Instagram, and other voyeur sites and blogs.

photo copyThe amount of food porn on the web has gone from feast to orgy. Although the number of Google hits is inconclusive, since some of the sites and images are, in fact, nude men and women caught in flagrente with food as a garnish on or around them.

Now, I’m not a spoiler, but it is annoying being around a table of diners photographing their dinners, especially the table I’m sitting at. I’ve never said grace and so object to “for this bounty we are about receive, say cheese!”

The current trend is not only to kvell about the star-chef meal you’ve taken a loan to pay for, now documentation is essential — like a pressed flower or scented hanky. Its not enough that the meal has been cooked to achieve a symphony of harmonious scents with textures that simultaneously challenge and soothe, leaving you both satisfied and longing for more, the lighting spotting the plate must be nuanced enough to capture the amused stupefaction and delight of fine dining.

photoFrankly, I’d rather hear a symphony of burps as testament (well, on second thought . . .) than see another diner standing over his or her respective courses attempting to capture a tabletop portrait. Instead, above is my own attempt at food porn — the aftermath of a food orgy, you might say.

De gustibus non est disputandum.  

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Being a food stylist or photographer are on my shortlist of careers that I’d like to do but never will. That said, I never sit down to a great plate of food and think that I should photograph it first. I love to eat too much.