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I’ve been thinking about food photography this week for a project that I’m working on.
Can I be honest with you? I realized that I’m tired of most food photography lately. I’m tired of taking photos of food, and I’m really tired of looking at photos of food online (perfect meals and those perfect table settings). It all looks the same. The faux-urban-rustic aesthetic, with mason jars for glasses and twine-wrapped napkins. The perfectly placed spoonful of brown sugar on the table (in a vintage/antique spoon, please), the sugar crystals artfully scattered around the spoon. You know what I’m talking about.
I want real photos of food. Pictures that make me feel something (other than, “oooh, where can I buy this?”). I want a food photo to appeal to my creative side, or to challenge me, or make me think. I like photos of food that give me a true sense of place – pictures that are not styled and glossy, but real and down-to-earth.
The internet LOVES food. Without a doubt, my food-related photos are some of my most popular photos. Pretty photos of food can earn you a million “likes” and “reblogs” and shouts of “how lovely!”. But that’s too easy, and I’m uninterested. I want to tell a story. I want to make you feel something, to experience it with me – the way the sun felt that day we had lunch on the patio, the creeping melancholy of a breakfast alone, the happiness of a lunch of fresh oysters & white wine, the lazy conversations with friends that took place over a Sunday roast. Food is about so much more than the actual food itself.
Does this make any sense?
I think one of my favorite things about photography is the ability to grow and learn and develop your eye. I push myself to be open to new things and I am always trying to be observant and searching for new ways of seeing the world around me. I guess I’m trying to do this with food photography, too. I want to shake it up, make it feel personal and real, make it really mean something to you. I’m not 100% sure how to do this, but I’m working on it.
Food, just like life, is not always perfect. And I want my photos to reflect that fact. There is a particular type of beauty in honesty.