Homework #6: Instagram and the Art of Food Photography

Martin Parr, Untitled (Turkey and Lamp), 1994, from the British Food series

Martin Parr, Untitled (Turkey and Lamp), 1994, from the British Food series

Happy Thanksgiving! This week seems an appropriate time to consider how photographing food can be an art form. A recent article “Food instagrammers turn their accounts in professions” in the Wall Street Journal highlights how some people have turned their obsession with photographing food into real-world perks, like free meals or cash! Using social media outlets, like Instagram, these foodie entrepreneurs have turned their love of eating out into a viable marketing tool for the hospitality industry. Read the Wall Street Journal article and compare these amateur photos to food photographs by an art photographer like Martin Parr, who is a member of the esteemed photography cooperative Magnum Photos. Parr created a series dedicated “British Foods,” which includes the photograph of the turkey shown here. What do you think are some of the differences between food photography for marketing and food photography for art? Do you prefer one over the other?

Read the Wall Street Journal article here.

Look at Martin Parr’s series here.

To complete this homework assignment, note whether you Post or Comment. For Homework #5, Diamonds and Spades will submit a Post, and Hearts and Clubs will Comment (choose any of your classmates’ posts to comment on).

PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR POSTS BY TUESDAY DECEMBER 1st, 2015. Same day Writing Assignment #2 is DUE (please make sure you choose one exhibition on the list, do not try to review the entire museum, rather pick one of the exhibitions to review)

This entry was posted in Homework and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Homework #6: Instagram and the Art of Food Photography

  1. ahadnahida says:

    Food photography has been a very trendy object these days. I follow a lot of photographers on Instagram whom post about the food they have tried from all over the world. These Instagramers just like New_Fork_City have shown me amazing spots to try out certain foods (The rainbow bagels are next on my list). My knowledge about food and amazing restaurants have expanded due to these instgramers whom grab my attention. I think food photography for marketing is shown in a different way. When food is photographed for marketing, it’s shown as this shiny and appetizing thing that you have to have. When food is used for art, it’s taken in an artistic way.

    • I agree with you; I believe that food photography for marketing makes food look completely unrealistic as to how it looks when it is actually purchased. You know the “syrup” in pancake commercials? It’s molasses; the milk? It’s white school glue; the moist and thick hamburger meat? It is not fully cooked. Don’t even get me started on the hamburger buns. So you see what I mean? It’s meant to be aesthetically pleasing to the viewers eye. Food photography for art is not meant to make food look attractive, it is more of a message or maybe trigger and emotion from the viewer; in other words, it is not selling one anything. I personally prefer artistic food photography; at least food is presented the way it really is in this form. Misleading photos of food in marketing are disappointing.

      • Daniel says:

        I agree that food photography for marketing does sell the food product more, but it also makes the food look unrealistic and is sometimes giving a false image of the food. Food photography for art shows you a more, real image on what food is really suppose to look like. Also with food photography for art you can get many different images of food because food is sometimes presented in different ways. I prefer the food for art more because it is not misleading like food for marketing is.

      • ggodfrey says:

        I agree as well that food photography for marketing looks so in realistic. I can’t ever remember a time where I got food that looked just like the picture. McDonald’s food never looks as appetizing on the menu as it does in front of you ready to eat. Food photography for art isn’t meant to look perfect and unrealistic but still look extremely appetizing. I follow a whole buch of accounts on Instagram and Twitter and it’s just people taking pictures of what is served in front of them, not fake food to make it look pretty. Im one of those people who if my food comes out looking amazing I’m gonna take a picture of it for my social media accounts. It’s not fake it’s a raw image and looks so savory. I prefer food art over food marketing anyway because marketing gives you a false hope when it doesn’t come out just like the picture.

    • Bibi Ali says:

      I agree, and there are many differences between food photography for marketing and food photography for art. One is, food photography for art shows food in its raw everyday form, no type of dressing up to look nice but in its natural state. But food photography for marketing does the exact opposite; restaurants get their dishes all glammed up before it hits the table for its close up by the customers. Also the pretty looking ones are meant to look much more appetizing than it really is, but sometimes it delivers what it claims to show. The one for art, shows it in any way, either edible or not. But that’s when don’t judge a book by its cover come into play. And our society is based off of presentation as a first impression, looks come first then what’s on the inside counts, comes second. From my perspective, I don’t really care for either, just because I would want the best for my money and if the food tastes fantastic then I don’t need to care about if it sparkles in the sunlight before I eat it.

    • Soledad says:

      I as well as you, follow many instagramers that post appetizing plates and of course I end up going to them to give them a try. I must agree and say that this restaurant’s have expanded because of instagramers like New_Fork_City. I personally prefer food photography for marketing. The reason why is because this pictures make one want to try new things , new restaurant or certain dishes that one didn’t know. I always find myself looking in social medial for new restaurants to try.

      • Yes, food photography is good for marketing. By using social media such as Instagram can help benefit food restaurants that are trying to make a profit. By having customers put food photography on social media, the restaurants can get noticed and get even more customers. When you think about it, its actually a great way for the consumer to help out whatever restaurants they like best by taking photos of their best foods. Its actually a win win situation for both ends, the consumer and producer.

    • Ryan Wong says:

      I agree food photography has been very trendy, however on the marketing side they make the food look way better than what you are getting. Come on that baconator from Wendy’s looks nothing like the picture. When it comes to the social media food photographers they show you what you really are getting. However food photography for art is completely different, the photographer’s goal is not to showcase the food. The main goal is for the viewer to catch the symbolism of the food.

  2. The use of instagram to post pictures of food is known commonly through the media, and even tho people make fun of it, the power of instagramers can cause such an impact on food lovers, anything can be consider art, and instagramers are becoming more knowledgeable on what type of food seems the more appetizing, which type of food gets the most likes, reading the comments, understanding the masses, the so called “professional photographers” can learn a thing or two from instagram entrepreneurs.
    simplicity and appeal don’t always go hand in hand.

  3. Jamile Brito says:

    I have been following people on instagram that post about food, whether it’s for recipes or about places where they go to enjoy a great meal with family and friends. It has been very helpful because many times they post about places that they go to eat at and once you learned about this you feel the need to go and give it a try. Instagram has been known for posting photographs about foods and other stuff. From my perspective, i believe food photography for marketing is a way to draw people’s attention to something that they feel that they need to try. As for photography of food is a way to express our food in a form of art. It focuses more on it’s shapes, patterns and colors. I would definitely not choose between the both because i feel like they are both very important in my life. For some reason i think that food photography is a good way to express yourself about what catches your attention about that particular food and food photography for marketing is important to me because let’s say if i don’t find a place where i could go to and enjoy a delicious meal at i could just go on instagram and find out through someone that has had more experiences with that.

  4. Irina says:

    Martin Parr’s photos at a first glance were too bold and a little shocking. However, when I started examining them attentively and read the article, I realized that there was something about them that attracts. I like that he doesn’t want to prove or persuade anything. There just simply captures of food, just the way they are.
    The images of the Instagram food lovers were, no doubt, more appealing and appetizing. Bright and shiny colors, right angles of food capture, mouthwatering details. However, do these food taste good? The Instagram users admit in this articles, that they get paid to snap the dinner and post it, and they still do it even the if it was not that good. Do we really care only about the appearance, but not the content? The plate presentation, for sure, is an important factor of my dinner, however, I would rather get tasty burger than nice picture that turned out to be a piece of dry meat and tasteless sauce. At the end of the day, in my opinion, we need honestly behind that beautiful and appealing shot!

    • Nicole says:

      I agree with you that Parrs’ photos of food has an element that seems to attract you to them. The fact that he doesn’t need the food to look “good” to actually look appetizing. The photos on instagram are made to look appealing in order to get more followers and likes on their photos. A lot of the times when I want to explore places in Manhattan I go to these food instagrams. I have yet to find a place that’s bad and hope that doesn’t happen at all. Hopefully people will continue to only post the good food places to go to!

  5. Jose N says:

    As a student and as full time worker, I really don’t have time to be cooking food so I always looking for a place with good food and my first places to look for is instagram. I do that because in instagram i can see all types of food and the photos make seeing so good that makes people to try it out and the reviews makes even better because it helps me decide if I try the food they offering or not. So using instagram as place to bring people to restaurants for free meals, or fees is a very great idea. For me is a very good business to get into.

  6. Xiomara says:

    From my own point of view, I believe that there is a difference between food photography for marketing and food photography for art. Food photography for marketing it’s very common on Instagram, many of us followed accounts just like New_Fork_City because the food images look very delicious, attractive to our eyes, and they look perfect. However, when we look at an image of food photography for art, now those images look very candid. Those kinds of photos look very natural and very familiar to us because they look exactly the same as the food we eat with imperfections. With this in mind, I honestly can choose on which one I prefer, because I love looking at images of food on Instagram and getting to know new restaurants of food. On the other hand, I also like how food photographs for art have an appearance in a realistic form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *