Food photos

A blunt question – Have you ever taken a photograph of (only) food, either something you ordered at a restaurant or that you made yourself? If you answer no, then you’re definitely not from Hong Kong or China, or at the very least, you are lying or have a really bad memory. Anyway…

Personally, I never even thought about taking food photos before I came to Asia. Yes, there were occasions where elaborate spreads of food were photographed, like Christmas time, birthdays and wedding gatherings and the like, but the frame included people as well and not just food. I’ve come to think of this as an Asian ‘thing’, and make no mistake thinking Asian’s love and appreciate food more than others; that’s not true – food is revered by everyone but not photographed by everyone.

I’m at a loss to know why people are so hell-bent on taking pictures of food. My original reaction was to eat the dishes presented before me, rather than take pictures and risk them going cold. It just seems odd that people bother to take individual pictures of food rather than tucking in the moment it arrives! And that’s not the worst part. There are occasions where the amount of time spent photographing pays no respect to the food at all, especially when everyone in a party has to be photographed with a particular dish – delicacy or not. So it’s not just individual snapshots of food, there are people in the frame now. Imagine this; Spicy chicken wings, wow, so greasy and shiny, all four of them – reactions from the average diner in Hong Kong, photograph them! Firstly, the dish itself with a macro lens setting and then with the diners either individually or as a group – people will ask to see the photo to check that the lighting and their pose is acceptable and if not might be silly enough to ask for a retake – seriously! And if the food goes cold before everyone has their shiny cheeky face posing with the most basic of dishes, then so-be-it. It’s the same for almost all orders. And it’s a lot more noticeable when people travel – easily taking a few hundred food shots alone on a short trip.

It just makes me wonder why people get so excited about the idea of posing with food. I’m all up for a photo before any meal or occasion but there is a limit to the amount of time given over to it. Next time you’re at a dinner gathering feel free to strike a pose with a plate of greasy chicken wings, a steaming hotpot or a delicious hairy crab – it’s in your nature! I’ve done it myself, actually!

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