Why I Love to Take Pictures of Food
In the last couple of years I've picked up our camera and really started playing with it. I love taking photos. There's so much beauty in my immediate surroundings - in the kitchen or elsewhere in our home and in the garden - I don't have to travel very far to find interesting things to photograph. My subject matter is still life; food, flowers and, of course, the cats (who are not always still, although they do nap a lot). I'll notice the way the morning light streams in on Parsnip as she's perched on the window seat and I have to grab the camera and capture it.
If I'm doing a blog post about how to make a favourite dish I always include photos of food. However, I often take photos of food for reasons beyond practicality.
Sometimes I'm making dinner or about to have an afternoon snack and I'm struck by a colour combination or how nice something looks in a wooden bowl. Like when I was making salad for dinner the other night and I just had to take a picture. And then I had to share it on social media. I just counted, and more than a quarter of my Instagram feed is photos of food.
These days, sharing photos of food is a universal pastime: Instagram and Facebook are full of pictures of what people had for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or their morning cup of coffee. I enjoy seeing these photos.
Other find it annoying. I get it; people who take pictures of everything they eat can be annoying. I too get a chuckle out of all the jokes and complaints about people who can't eat before they take a picture of their meal or how some only order food they know will look good on Instagram. It's true and it's funny.
Maybe it's just my nature but I love seeing photos of what people are eating. It's inspiring and fun, and it tells me a lot about who those people are (who was it that said, "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are?").
Instead, I like to think of taking and posting pictures of the food you're preparing or about to eat as the modern version of saying grace.
Those annoyed by the whole practice of Instagramming everything you eat say it's a form of social posturing or showing off, the goal being to strike up envy in other people. "Look at me, see how healthy I eat, see what an amazing cook/mother I am!!!"
It's not why I do it. I see personal value in sharing the simple moments and pleasures in life. Although, it's true, sometimes I am proud of something I made. Like these truffles: I mean, they are so delicious, nourishing and pretty, especially when lit like that. It's hard for me to not share what I love.
I would also add that taking pictures of food helps you connect with your food. I have never quite appreciated the beauty of a butterhead lettuce until I took this photograph. Maybe it follows that sharing this photo will have the same effect on the viewer.
I'm so glad I insisted my friend Geoff hold this platter of fish fritters he just cooked up next to a natural light source so I could get a good picture.Now, whenever I see that photo, I am vividly reminded of just how delicious those fitters were, and I have a more essential memory of that lovely afternoon. Better than if, dare I say, I had taken a picture of everyone who was there.
But perhaps most importantly, taking photos of food is a way to improve my photography. Food is a great subject, never putting on a special face or asking me to not take or post a photo to Instagram because the angle is not flattering.