Controversial Photography


I was mentioned in Forbes Magazine today! I woke up this morning to a Twitter notice on my phone from the author, Cecilia Rodriguez, linking me to “Food Porn: Are You Ready To Take A Stand?”. I was pleasantly surprised, I haven’t been mentioned in major media in years. When I had time to actually read the article, I decided I better weigh in on this one.

Should you be allowed to photograph your meal? I obviously do and have for 15 years. I agree and disagree with the arguments. I do not think that the intellectual property argument flies at all. You are not taking the recipe and publishing it without permission. Taking a photo is not taking the food. We do not yet have such amazing technology. I do understand the case against showing the food in a bad light. I am not a professional photographer…which is obvious from the photos on my site. But although my site is, the photos are almost secondary here. It’s about the experience…the table dance if you will.

I don’t think people should be taking professional photographs at dinner though. If that’s your argument, you will quickly have some very disruptive diners. I have a small pocket-sized camera I use for most dinners (planned ones at least). It has a low-light setting so I can actually get the food to show up in the usually very dim lighting of the dining rooms. NO FLASH! My phone camera is basically useless at dinners. I can use it in a pinch at a lunch or somewhere with bright lights but if I’m planning on writing about a meal, I take my actual camera. I keep it in my lap under my napkin or next to me in the chair. After the food is placed in front of me, if I remember, I snap a quick shot. No staging, no waiting, no spoiling ambiance. Half the time I don’t think people notice I’m photographing.

I’ve been sitting next to people who have professional cameras. I can guarantee their pictures turned out worlds better. I can also guarantee their dinner was less enjoyable. If you’re more worried about the picture than the food, you’re doing it wrong.

Be in the moment.

Food porn isn’t the photo itself, it’s the enjoyment of the food. Sharing the story is secondary. If you aren’t immersed in the meal, how can anyone else be immersed in you reliving it?