All In It Together:
Why do we get pleasure from taking photos of our food? We simply find it impossible to eat a meal without getting a picture of it and arguably have a food photo addiction. The rise in social media has created an increase in using sites such as Instagram as a popular platform to post these kind of pictures and share them with the rest of the world. Sadly, I must admit that I am one of those people. Whether the type of person I am talking about is you or your friend – you know exactly the type of person I mean!
The gratification I get from taking a picture of my visually pleasing looking food is indescribable, some would argue pathetic. Since getting my first IPhone I have fallen in love with photography and what better way to combine that with another passion – Food! That moment in a restaurant when the food is positioned and presented in such an ‘instagramable’ way you just have to whip your phone out to capture it. We will happily allow our food to go cold and annoy the person we are having dinner with in order to take the perfect shot. It is crucial to work out the best angle, flash or no flash and how close to the food we should get just so that we can impress our followers with the yummy goodness!
As much as this is a funny topic of conversation and we can ridicule ourselves there is a reason that this habit and obsession can be slightly worrying. Some of the research that has been done surrounding taking pictures of food has also resulted in some unusual findings.
One example was Sean Coary’s 2016 research into how ‘consumer generated images shape important consumption outcomes in the food domain’. He completed three studies with 120 participants. The findings found that food photography puts off time before eating the food thus creating anticipation for the meal which as a result makes the food taste nicer. This shows that what we are doing is great and our partners are really just missing out! However, there is also huge amounts of negativity surrounding the topic.
Chips are the worst, my boyfriend tells me, because apparently they go cold the quickest! So, good luck to any partner that orders ‘instagramable’ looking chips because you may have to eat them cold after time has been spent getting the perfect snap! So what actually is an ‘instagramable’ picture. I have compiled a checklist for all inspiring instagramers for what photos will make the cut and which ones won’t:
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Well laid out on the plate
My Own Food Photo Addiction:
My personal Instagram has even got a story option that I have made which shows all of the food pictures I have taken. Do people really care about the pictures and want to see everything being put in our mouth? I’m not so sure. Yet we continually do it and worse we stalk others that do the same thing.
Psychologist Susan Albers explained how individuals take photos of food for 10 reasons: memory of the meal, show people how naughty or good you are eating, weird food combinations, to ask for help, food advice, cooking magic, cravings, gross and/or to get to know you better. This illustrates that our brains tell us to take and post food pictures for a variety of reasons.
My feed is full of oozing chocolate puddings and creamy fondant cakes all of which satisfy my naughty cravings whilst I take pleasure out of the dreamy images. Not only is this habit border on obsessive but it is also affecting personal relationships. From personal experience, my boyfriend in particular is not too fond of my food photo addiction. I’m sure a lot of you can relate whether you are the angry boyfriend or girlfriend that experiences the pain every meal time or you are the one, alike me, with the unhealthy obsession.
My boyfriend explains his dread in a restaurant as the “one minute of hell” which is when the food is coming out and he knows he is about to endure a photoshoot. Below are some pictures that demonstrate the reality of my annoying habit and you see some of the behind the scene pictures that don’t make it to the gram! These show the funny reality of the Instagram pics and what the person behind the picture is actually thinking.
Angry Phil who is showing me his annoyance of my picture taking with an intense frown and furrowed eyebrows!
Phil’s concentrated face was his way of coping with his hunger whilst I was taking pictures. In his words “take it quick Danielle I am very hungry”. I think someone was getting a little bit Hangry!
The stare! I’m sure a lot of you will have experienced the awful stare before. It’s the one you get when your partner has just had enough of you taking pictures and is not happy about you taking more! This is me trying to get one while he was preparing our food.
Seems like he was too hungry to wait in this one! Sometimes his annoyance becomes too much that he won’t listen to me and let me take the picture before he starts eating!
This is me forcing him into a picture against his will – from practice I have learnt that this is easiest with giving him some food. Put some food in their mouth and take the picture fast and they won’t see it coming!
Analysis Of Photos:
These photos show that the pictures we put on social media are not always realistic and definitely don’t always give the full picture. The pictures on the right show the edited photos that end up on the gram compared to the left which is what is actually going on when I take the picture. This is an angry, hungry boyfriend who wants me to put my phone away 99% of the time.
Popular chef Heston Blumenthal told The Telegraph that he would rather diners in his restaurant “enjoyed themselves” throughout their meal rather than constantly taking pictures. Many Chefs think you miss out on the moment of enjoying the food because you become too fixated on the picture.
To conclude it is important to be cautious when becoming obsessed with smartphones and technology because food and dining moments in life are to be enjoyed, not wasted through digital means.
In recent years there has been a huge digital impact on the way we, as society, go about eating our food and demonstrated that food protocol is now not complete without taking a picture of it. I hope that my personal experiences and accepting of my slight obsession will make you guys reading this have a new sense of awareness for this kind of behaviour. It will also hopefully help both you readers and myself to enjoy eating and special food times without always feeling the need to reach for a smart phone.
So lock those phones away and enjoy the food while it’s still hot, I mean unless it’s mega pretty!
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Till next time,