Next time you’re sitting in a restaurant, take a minute to look around at your fellow clientele and the chances are it won’t be long before you see someone brandishing a camera or camera phone and surreptitiously snapping their meal before they tuck in to it. Food photography has become something of a phenomenon over the past few years with thousands of images documenting people’s grub floating around various social media channels on the net.
Enter the search term ‘food’ into the online photo-sharing platform Flickr, for example, and an overwhelming 10 million+ results come up. But why has this suddenly become a craze and why do people feel the need to share images of what they eat?
It might be something to do with the temporary nature of any meal. As food is meant to be eaten, taking a photograph of it is a way to preserve the thought of that delicious dish long after you’ve digested. Others find that photographing their dinner is akin to keeping a diary. As humans we have to eat to survive so documenting our food is a means to record our daily existence. There’s also the fact that cooking is a creative process and taking an image of the results is a means of sharing that creativity.
Combine all of this with the prevalence of camera phones now and it’s possible to see why we’re swimming in images of food. Camera manufactures have also latched on to the trend with brands such as Nikon, Olympus, Sony and Fuji releasing cameras with special “food” or “cuisine” functions on them which supposedly highlight the colour and texture of food through enhanced sharpness and saturation.
Despite this, it’s actually still remarkably difficult to photograph food well and, as a result, there’s many-a-mediocre food photo littering the web. That appetising curry that’s sitting in front of you may not translate so well to a camera phone screen or that delicious cheesecake may in fact just end up looking like a slab of yellow mush to any snap-happy person who’s anything less than a professional photographer.
When food photography is done well though, the results are impressive. Take a look at some of these images and you might find yourself fighting the urge to devour the nearest available pancakes or bake up a chicken pie right here and now.
This demand for so-called ‘food porn’ has meant that many professional photographers who had previously specialised in other fields such as fashion or travel are also now turning their attention to food.
It seems that food photography is well and truly here to stay. Check out these mouthwatering images by two of the pros:
Images by Sarka Babicka and subject to copyright: http://sarkababicka.com/
Images by Howard Shooter and subject to copyright: http://www.howardshooter.co.uk/