I’m staging a photo protest.
I just saw this article about bloggers and food photography:
Apparently, I’m a part of the “food paparazzi.” What an annoying title from chefs who should love me as much as I love them! And what annoying points structure the comments in this article! The aesthetics of eating have ALWAYS been important. Why else would gourmet restaurants spend so much energy plating food? Why else would bakeries display their cookies and bread in the window? Why else would we have the phrase “that looks good”? I could think of so many more things here but I’ll limit myself to just one more. The restaurant editor of Bon Appetite is quoted saying he wishes that people would remember what dining is all about (i.e. eating). I think he is a little confused… an editor at a magazine, especially a food magazine, should remember how important images are to media. Delicious covers and pictures are one of the main reasons to buy his magazine!
Alright, too much is already being made of the photography question. The main point is the bloggers are sort of like a paparazzi; when they are at a really fancy restaurant they are taking photos for the people who can’t be that close. But they are also taking photos to enhance story telling. No chefs are complaining that people are writing about or reading about food when it should “just be eaten.” Obviously not. Food has always been reviewed and discussed even though that is not the same thing as tasting it. And now it’s being photographed because it makes the experience of hearing about the food just a little more complete.
I will admit that some delicious stuff just isn’t photogenic. That is a drawback to relying on photography as a way of presenting information about a meal. But I’ll also say that I love taking ‘imperfect’ pictures of food. Yeah, I mean food that is half eaten or food in the process of being cooked. The point of taking the photo is partially for fantasy and entertainment, like celebrity photographs, but also partially (and for me this is the main reason, I hope) to tell a story about eating. To tell a story much along the lines of that grand concept “why people dine out.” Blogging and photography can combine to be about the whole experience, the life and people, the mistakes or glamor or hilarity, that goes into an amazing meal out–or one that was a mishap. It’s rigid and pretentious to complain that taking a photo is disrespectful to the process of eating and to serious chefs. It’s fun. You’d as soon tell me not to laugh at dinner. I guess some restaurants would. I don’t write about those.
Now tell me you don’t support food photography.