On food photography

November 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Food photography. Such a wank, am I right?

Look at this salad. It looks okay. It’s neatly plated, has shape, balance and dimension. The flatware is white bone china. There’s a suggestion of company in the background, because who cooks for one? The generously-sized bowl reflects the action. But it’s not a money shot. Why?

The leaves on the right hand side have too much caesar dressing. They look dipped and limp. Maybe there should be some utensils, so you can pick it right up and get stuck in? But wait: OH NOES! There’s a bread tie on the counter.

Let’s look closer. Here’s another picture:

The leaves are coated, glossy, even. But not overly so! You can still see their veins, their spines, erect with freshness and moisture. You know, when you need a break from the yolk, the anchovy, the raw garlic, the lemon, you will be able to find a bit of virgin leaf. Look at that crouton. It’s only an hour old! The bread is so close you can see the the sponginess, the strands of gluten, the rub of the oil. You can tell by its golden edge it’s going to be crunchy outside, chewy within. Look at the cheese! It’s so thinly shaved it’s almost transparent. You can see its ruffled edges, its salty petals. It’s sitting in that roasted tomato like confetti in a cup.

And I wasn’t even trying, I just dumped it out on the plate. Imagine what a team of food stylists would come up with.

The first photo shows you food on a plate. It’s a strip show. The second photo takes you in close and sharp. That’s a lap dance.

You can still tell you’re not dining alone but you no longer feel like you have to share. It’s practically in your mouth already.



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