A few weeks ago, when my sister visited from out of town, we went out for brunch at Le Chatelaine. When the waiter brought our food, my husband sat patiently, warning my sister not to touch her plate until I was finished taking pictures.
Yesterday, my friend Sharon shared a story from the New York Times on this growing trend of food photography. And food blogging. And flickr groups based on food photography. The article mentions several groups I have heard of, and I count seven food photography groups of which I am a member, if you count farmer’s markets among them (I do). I've been following Jen at SimplyBreakfast for years now. I swap photos of food with friends on Facebook; it’s like sharing a virtual meal, bonding over a common appreciation of flavor. I photograph food because I really, really like it.
The article suggests that this trend can be taken to unhealthy heights, not unlike compulsive calorie-counting. While I admit I get a little pang of regret every time I find myself in front of a beautiful plate of food and cannot (mostly for social reasons) take a picture, I like to think that most food photographers and bloggers are practicing aesthetic skills and celebrating our most primal and rewarding sensory experience; flavors.
As Javier Garcia notes in the NYT article, “the French philosopher and gourmand Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
What I like about food photography is that you have a visual reminder of a meal enjoyed with friends and family. Looking at it conjures not only the flavors and textures, but also the conversation and laughter shared in the moment. My favorite thing about shooting food? It doesn’t squirm or complain.