Taking Pictures of your meals seems to be a growing trend
A couple of months ago I was sitting in a restaurant watching someone at a nearby table taking pictures of all of his dishes. He was using a tiny tabletop tripod, moving every plate to just the right position and using long exposures take advantage of the little bit of light. I’ve been seeing diners taking pictures more frequently, and asked the server if the whole tripod setup was common. He rolled his eyes and said, “everyone is taking pictures, but this guy has been in three times in the last couple of weeks, so I’m pretty sure he is the Food Dude working on a review.”
I had to kick my companion under the table to keep her from laughing.
Maybe I should have my “foodie” card revoked, but I’ve never really had any interest in photographing the things I eat. These days I refuse to take any pictures at all, and more often than not, I write the restaurant asking if they want to send photos of any of the dishes I’m reviewing. Most do, surprisingly some don’t – I never quite understand that, since good photos can make a big difference to people skimming a review.
Anyway, with the exception of an occasional idiot who is using a flash, to each his own. However, it seems there are some people that are so obsessed, they photograph every single item they eat.
JAVIER GARCIA, a 28-year-old neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, was in the campus pub recently having a grilled cheese sandwich. But before he took a bite, he snapped a digital picture of it, cheese artistically oozing between toasted white bread, just as he has photographed everything he has eaten in the last five years.
Every other week he posts the photos on his Web site, ejavi.com/javiDiet, providing a strangely intimate and unedited view of his life and attracting fans from as far away as Ecuador. The nearly 9,000 photos leave nothing out, not even snacks as small as a single square of shredded wheat.”
“Keeping a photographic food diary is a growing phenomenon with everything from truffle-stuffed suckling pig to humble bowls of Cheerios being captured and offered for public consumption. Indeed, the number of pictures tagged “food” on the photo-sharing Web site Flickr has increased tenfold to more than six million in the last two years, according to Tara Kirchner, the company’s marketing director. One of the largest and most active Flickr groups, called “I Ate This,” includes more than 300,000 photos that have been contributed by more than 19,000 members. There would be more, but members are limited to 50 photos a month.
I went and looked at Mr. Garcia’s site, and lasted all of sixty seconds (if you back up to his home page, it’s a bit more… interesting – and annoying).
Unlike a picture of a flower or friend, a picture of a meal recalls something smelled, touched, tasted and ultimately ingested. Carl Rosenberg, 52, a Web site developer who divides his time among San Francisco; Austin, Tex.; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, photographs his food along the way with a Nikon D3.
“You have more of a direct connection with your food, so it forms a more essential memory of an occasion,” he said. He often places a small stuffed animal, a sheep, which he calls the Crazy Sheep, next to his food before taking a picture; reminiscent of the globe-trotting garden gnome in the French film “Amélie.”
“I think photographing food is a more accurate way to document life,” said Mr. Rosenberg, who shares photos with family and friends but does not post them. “Food isn’t going to put on a special face when you take a picture of it.”
Yup, you’d better take back my card. I can look at a recipe and taste it in my mind, but a picture? I feel nothing. How about you?