Wednesday, May 12, 2010

0 A Word About the Food Photos on This Blog

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As I've mentioned before, sometimes this blog's going to have great, well-composed pictures and other times, well, let's just say that most of the effort went into the cooking. ;)

Like that last recipe. Yeah, I know, the picture is lousy. :) But trust me, the meal was a lot more appetizing than the photo I'd snapped. :) It looked & tasted a whole lot better in person. The evidence is in the empty plates. ;)

So don't judge a recipe by its photographer. Especially if that photographer is a complete amateur and also happens to be the cook. :)

And you know what?! Sometimes it's just not about the photo, people; it's about how the food actually looks & tastes right before it's eaten. :) I regret that I can't always capture that perfect moment and deliver it to you "on a plate"  -- or rather, in the form of a perfect, sigh-inducing picture on this blog. ;) However, if you were over at my place eating this food as my guest, you'd get quite a different impression of these dishes. You'd see that the live, in-person presentation is much better than what I'm often able to capture on film.

Right now, I have a limited amount of time to devote to food photography. As many of you already know, I'm writing a cookbook, and so, my main efforts are going into the writing part, & not into the food photography. In other words, that's where my effort should be going. :)

Put yourself in my shoes for a moment: I don't currently even have a professional food photographer on staff for the cookbook (or this blog) at present. And to be honest, I can't really afford to pay one right now either, nor do I have the time or the inclination to try to fill that role myself. ;)

However, if there are any professional photographers out there in the DC area who would like to volunteer to hop on over here & take free pictures of my food after it's been cooked & made camera-ready, they'll get many free, fresh, healthy gourmet meals out of the deal, as well as full photo credits (i.e., free advertising!) in exchange. And oh yeah, my eternal gratitude. :) If so, please let me know. Otherwise, don't expect me to be the Robert Doisneau of food photography. ;)

People make such a huge freakin' deal about perfect-looking food photos on blogs. This puts a lot of pressure on the average food blogger. I don't know, the whole thing just bugs me sometimes. Sure, I like looking at pretty pictures just as much as the next person, but honestly, I don't always have the time or the patience to perfectly arrange my food & then take pictures of it after I cook. This is real life, people. :) Frankly, most times I just want to dig in after the cooking is finished & could care less about taking photos. Can we say "hungry"? ;)

As far as the topic of bloggers obsessing over food photography is concerned, I honestly think it's gotten a bit out of hand. There are a lot of city restaurants reporting that they are now used to people snapping photos of their meals at their tables. In some ways, I'd compare the activity to talking on one's mobile phone at the dinner table. Is that behavior really necessary? Isn't it a bit disruptive to the other diners in the immediate vicinity? Where's the courtesy? At the very least, please turn off your flash, so you don't blind everyone else around you. ;)

Also, there's another disturbing aspect to this activity: People who are so focused on the recording of these activities often forget to be in the moment and actually enjoy the experience itself. If given the choice, I'd rather be conscious of a wonderful experience versus the being overly concerned with the perfect filmic capture of that experience. Life is short, and while it's certainly nice to have a photo keepsake, sometimes I think that there's too much emphasis on the photo, and not on the experience itself.

Also, the way food is in real life can't always be perfectly captured on camera, or at least not by a cranky chef who's put all of her energy into making the food, and just wants to sit down & eat it, versus taking photos of the darned thing. Haha!

OK, there, I admitted it. I often feel compelled to take these food photos sometimes when I'd rather not have to bother. I'll also admit that sometimes I feel pressured to post a pretty photo, even though there are going to be times when clearly I fall short of these sorts of expectations. ;) Sometimes I just don't have the time to spend several hours editing photos in Photoshop for that "perfect photo composition." And so, yeah, sometimes I resort to stock footage when I'm just not in the mood to bother. And then other times, I'll actually take the time to snap a nice photo.

Also, remember that I have multiple blogs. That means multiple posts & multiple photos, which requires multiple minutes & hours. :)

Lately, I've been posting more original photos of the food I've been cooking, with varying results. ;) Although I've been getting a bit quicker with choosing & editing photos, I just don't really have adequate time or patience to devote to perfecting this activity right now. As I said, I'm not a professional food photographer, nor do I play one on TV. ;) I'm a chef.

Seriously, which would you rather have -- a food blog with pretty, perfect pictures and crap food or one with great food & a mix of great and middling-to-average photos? ;) Wouldn't you rather that I concentrate my efforts on providing you with fantastic, tasty recipes, and leave the food photography up to someone else? ;)

I guess the bottom line is this: Please just take me & this blog as we are. If you want tasty recipes from a real person who can cook, you can come here. If you'd rather eat food that looks like it belongs in a wax museum & most likely tastes like it too, then you probably should visit one of those foo-foo-shi-shi, nouvelle cuisine type blogs that's all about the way food looks in a picture, versus how it looks & tastes in person. :)

And that's a wrap. G'Night!
-C

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