Why do people take photos of their food? (Is there any life after "Instagram"?)

At the moment this article was being written, the Instagram had over 226 million (!) photos with a hashtag #food. Just for the sake of comparison, the cats get twice as less attention - only 116 mln photos. How can we explain that?

Food esthetics before the Instagram

Long before the Instagram age, the pictures of food were iconic too, it’s just that not everybody had means to transfer the image onto the canvas. The walls of the palaces were decorated with the pictures of the rich setouts or the hunters’ meals. People are still very fond of this type of art - this picture by Paul Cezanne - the Still Life, Drapery, Pitcher, and Fruit Bowl - costs $60,5 mln. The photo of your gorgeous dessert on the Instagram will definitely be much cheaper though it’ll certainly bring you a lot of aesthetic pleasure.

Food art

The art is not only about the canvas and the paint. Why can’t it be about the bread and butter, or about the tomatoes and cheese?  Food art is not only beautiful, it’s tasty as well. Unfortunately, these art objects are not suitable for exhibiting. All you can do is take pictures of them. The patience and the artistic talent of these cooking artists are remarkable. Isn’t it great that we always have a camera with us, so that we can make a photo and share it with our friends worldwide immediately?

Food styling

The world market brings us new professions all the time, the ones that we couldn’t even imagine about 5 years ago. And if UX-designers and Vloggers are quite common now, the profession of the food stylist is comparatively new. These specialists are in demand. Once a few beautiful food photos were enough for the restaurants and cafes for making the adverts, for decorating the menus and the website. Some of them even worked with the stock photo. Now when the content marketing is on the rise, the smallest coffee shop has its own Instagram blog, that requires new photos of food every day. The whole industry with its own laws and rules has emerged. By the way serving tasty food is not enough anymore - to be competitive one has to serve the pleasure to the eyes as well.

One can find beauty in anything. People who take photos of food are capable of finding an interesting composition and attractive colors even in the routine. However, it doesn’t really mean that every burger or every cake should get photographed. We can only hope that every food photographer has a mere sense of taste.

March 6, 2017