Food Photography? Are You a Nuisance?

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Food Photography? Are You a Nuisance?

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Hawaii Island , Kauai , Maui , Oahu
Jan 25, 2013

meal at hawaiian vanilla luncheonHere’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?

Responses:

Millie | Jan 29, 2013 08:19 PM

I am not a fan of taking photos of my food! There are too many intricacies to taking that camera out! " oh it's too dark!" " oh one more time" , " wrong angle" It gets old when that camera comes out, I've done a quick snap here and there with my " picture phone" but only when it's really worth something to take those few minutes out of savoring the food in front of you! I understand when it's for birthdays and celebrations - a group photo moment but with the evolution of faster more intricate cameras, I get tired waiting for the right moment ! Let eat!

harry gunsenhouser | Jan 30, 2013 12:04 PM

Hi we have eaten all over the states including hawaii we hail from the east coast and hot dogs are a big deal here and we have a canon dslr and the flash with all the lens that we need and we have taken pictures at the hula grill even pictures of our mai tais but we would not stand on a table or be a nuisance in todays world people are doing alot of what their not supposed to do but its looking like their are things that are being accepted as normal now !

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