Here’s what I know about food photography:
1) The trend baffles me.
2) I’m not very good at it.
My quick historical review of the trend to photograph meals—from bacon frying in the pan to hotdogs slathered in relish, onions, mustard and ketchup at a place as non-food interesting as Costco to the tantalizing poke nachos at Hukilau Lanai on Kauai to Roy’s signature chocolate soufflé at Roy’s Waikiki Beach—tells me the advent happened around the rise of social media. Facebook. Twitter. And, now, Instagram are to blame. Oh, we mustn’t forget the zillions of food bloggers, either.
I wrote about the trend almost three years ago to the day, when I asked, “When did picture phones become a standard place-setting at restaurant tables?”
Picture phones? Did I really write “picture phones?” Maybe I meant “camera phone.” That archaic choice of verbiage alone illustrates how far our mobile phone technology has evolved in the past three years, during which time I’ve owned three different iPhones for my personal use and one Blackberry for this here job and for which I recently and happily off-loaded. Indeed, the camera is as integral to a phone today as shoyu is to sushi in Hawaii.
I recently stopped following someone on Instagram, because he posted one too many greasy hot dog photos. Really? A hot dog?
In my three-year-old blog post, I acquiesced to the food photography trend by taking my own and allowing that the act of photographing food was akin to photographing a beautiful Hawaiian sunset or Hawaiian monk seal snoozing on the beach. It captured a moment in time. It served as a keepsake. It recorded a special moment.
But hot dogs?
And, now, in the venerable (this adjective always precedes the following noun) New York Times
, I discover that some restaurants are discouraging people from pulling out their “picture phones” and snapping photographs of their entrees. Others are implementing stipulations, like banning the use of flashes. All because some people have tread over the line of acceptability in food photography.
It seems some people are hauling in tripods and flash strobes to get their perfect capture. They’re standing on chairs to go for the overhead shot. In short, they’re making a nuisance of themselves. (Not me. I swear.)
Restaurateurs say these people defile the ambiance they work to hard to achieve. These photographing-crazed customers are ruining the dining experience for other diners.
What about you? Do you participate in the food photography trend? Why? Why not? Has your dining experience ever been violated by a food-photographing zealot? And for those of you who do, ‘fess up, have you ever posted a photograph of a hot dog?