Week 1 Discussion Topic: Taking Pictures of Food

My own example of food photography: Duck confit and potatoes at Brasserie Mollard in Paris

My own example of food photography: Duck confit and potatoes at Brasserie Mollard in Paris

I usually begin the blog in the History of Photography class with a New York Times article by the art critic Roberta Smith who is dismayed with the increasing use of cameras, especially cellphones by viewers when interacting with art. I ask my students to share their opinions about taking pictures of pictures but for our Art of Food learning community, I want to know what you think of the more prevalent practice of taking pictures of food. Read the NYT article “First Camera, Then Fork” on people who take pictures of food and then display them online. Taking pictures of food is so common nowadays that the comedian Adam Sacks produced a spoof commercial when the iPhone 5 was released that highlighted food photography. There are numerous tumblr and flickr groups dedicated to food like the flickr “I Ate This.”

Read the “First Camera, Then Fork” NYT article here.

Watch a parody ad of the “iPhone 5” for Food Photography

Share what you think about taking pictures of food, you may post an image if you wish.

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12 thoughts on “Week 1 Discussion Topic: Taking Pictures of Food

  1. Before reading the article about photographing food, I thought it was a bit narcissistic and crazy to photograph what you ate, whether it was to show your mom what you were eating on vacation, or as a food critic or your pancake at a dive diner, but I can see how food evokes comfort and memories, so people may like to share these emotions. Much like we are addicted to our electronic devices and may not be able to deal with the thought of not using them for a period of time, I do agree with psychologists who say it is a compulsive disorder if you feel a strong need to take photos of all you eat to the point where it gets in the way of your everyday life. Food blogs can make me a bit crazy if the blogger really does not know much about food or has terrible grammar. Everybody is a “foodie” these days!
    I wonder what our students think. I know they love to take photos of the baked goods we make in class.

  2. It is no Suprise to me that in this day and age where people enjoy taking pictures of food, a “Foodie”, has become so poopular. We live in a time where there is a personal need to share information about our daily lives with our friends,family and the world. I actually like the idea of taking pictures of food for many reasons, one of which centers around the apperication of food in general. Whether you are throwing together a meal at home, or your out enjoying a meal in a restrauant or cafe, there was an element of time and effort that went into creating that plate of food you are about to enjoy. Also the “foodie” is a great conversation starter, I have a friend who just loves to seek out great restaurants all over the city and my social media feed is always packed of all the mouth watering pictures and the not so great pictures. This is great for me, as a person who enjoys going out for a bite to eat with my family and friends, having a glimpse of what to expect when dining out essential for me. I really don’t agree with psychologist on the notion of a person being OCD when it comes to taking pictures of food in general. Although I do believe that some people can be very excessive and may need a ‘foodie’ intervention. Interestingly enough, taking pictures of food is an art form, anyone can do it and it’s just part of the new normal. In conclusion, I believe its great if you want to capture a food moment in time and have with you forever, but don’t miss the moment all together. Life is much more delicious and savory off camera.

  3. Before reading the article or viewing the video I already new about taking photos of foods.The reason I know this is because i used to do it occasionally when I really like how something looks or if I made something and I’m proud of, its just like Pamela Hollinger does but now I don’t really do it any more reading the article made me realize how bad people have it and how crazy its gotten for people. But the food diary idea is very interesting to me along with the I phone 5 camera. i liked the video more than the article even though it was very informative. I am thinking about starting a diary of all the things i make while attending city tech and maybe using the I phone 5 camera to do it but we’ll see whats coming soon.

    • The iPhone 5 video was a spoof, a joke, making fun of all the food photos. And Jen, you are right, when the taking of photos makes you miss the moment altogether, that is when it has become a compulsion, much like as soon as we have a down moment, we pull out our phone to check it for texts, emails, whatever.

  4. A picture could said a lot. It starts with the color than comes the way it is demonstrated. When it come to food, I wonder how perfect it looks compare to what I see online. When I follow a recipe online what helps me is the picture because I could tell right way I did something wrong. In my opinion you don’t always have to take a picture of everything you eat. I would guess you would need to take a picture of something you haven’t tried before. The part of taking pictures of everything you eat is taking it to another level. It’s something different that haven’t experience with. I would love to take picture of something I made with my own hand. So I could show to everyone I know and feel proud of myself. Seen the video with the iphone 5 made my opinion strong because at end it showed it all. Also in the article it stated that a men felled his wife just to get a better lens. In my opinion you where there with your wife to have a great time not with the food. The way the article and the video send a message that I don’t agree with. That taking picture of food needs to be a communication between them and the world.

  5. I thoroughly enjoy taking pictures of my food with my phone because unlike the “iPhone 5 camera” it would be too much to be carrying that huge camera everywhere. One of the reasons, taking pictures of our food with our cell phones is so popular is due to the convenience of its easy accessibility to us. I also thought I would share this article from Huffington Post.


  6. Thanks for sharing the Huffington Post article Brianna. What beautiful photos by Joanna Pai. I found myself becoming mesmerized by quite a few of them. It seems that she began capturing images of food just like you or I and then if became a fully fledged passion. My favorite is the steam coming off of the clay mug.

  7. Taking pictures of food before consuming is absolutely necessary for someone like me especially. Food is its own special kind of art because it has no flaws. Whether the food is distasteful, spoiled, whether it needs more salt even if its dry capturing a picture of food in any state looks beautiful. I’ve never actually made any meal on my own so I take pictures of everything I eat and upload them to show off to the world, I’m a major show off and to show my friends and family. Taking a picture of food is very helpful to me because it reminds me what not to order the next time I go to a restaurant because I’m trying to have a taste of everything at least once. For someone like me who isn’t accustom to certain vegetables, spices, or additives taking a picture gives me the opportunity to go back and identify the recipe or which ingredient was essential to making this carrot have this flavor for example. I love taking pictures of the foods I eat or any food thats around me that I haven’t eaten before. I’m the person that stops everybody at the dinner table to take a picture of their food and pray of course!

  8. For me, food has much more meaning than sustenance. I use cooking as a way of expressing myself, sharing it with family and friends as a symbol of my affections. In this respect I have come to think of food as an art, whether its appearance is aesthetic or not. I have always taken pictures of dishes and items that I cook or bake so that I can have a sort of photo journal of my experiments as well as my progress.
    I have at times taken pictures of food at restaurants, however it must be something outrageous, I don’t always find as much pleasure in photographing other peoples creations. Thinking that my hesitance in snapping shots of my plate had to do with my phone, my son bought me an iPhone for Mother’s Day to encourage me. While I still resent cell phones being pulled out at tables, the reliance on technology and social media to me is often rude and distracting to social interaction, I find myself doing it a little more often now that I have the proper tool. I try to be understanding about other peoples need to photograph every morsel of food they eat before putting it in their mouth, I just feel sharing it with friends doesn’t have to be done at the table.
    The article gave me a little more insight as to why some people feel such a strong need to document their culinary experiences. The video, while sharing some of my feelings, I think was a little harsh in its paradox.

  9. I am definitely guilty of taking pictures while out to eat. I honest only try to take pictures of food that I consider beautiful or has great food presentation. I do hate when people post pictures of a basic burger and fries. I do believe in everything that was said in the Iphone 5 camera parody video. Sometime I feel like people do take pictures of just any type food and post them to social media just to prove they have a grand social life and for “likes” and “retweets”.

  10. I can definitely relate to this article in many ways. I snap picture of what I am eating especially if I prepared it. I look at food as a work of art and it should be captured. technology such as the iPhone has definitely made it easier to snap a picture and post it on your social network to share with the world or friends and family. I don’t think I have to take a snap shot of everything I eat that may be obsessive and compulsive, but if it pretty I will snap shot it. I would like to have the memory of what I eat. Put it this way have you ever looked at a picture of a food or dessert and said, oh I am inspired I would like to make that, or that looks amazing I want to visit the restaurant that made this. These are some of the art and the outcome of taking pictures of food.

  11. I believe taking pictures of food has become so important now in days because of social media and wanting to share with the “world” what you’re about to eat. But even before social media like instagram and Facebook became big people were still taking pictures of their food. The whole concept of you eat with your eyes comes into play. More high end restaurant now in days focused on plating and presentation and so now dining has become into a art show in a way, and this is why taking picture of food has become important and trendy.

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