Photographing food is a norm in this day and age. But where did it all start? At the beginning of Instagram? At the beginning of social media? No, food photography started over a hundred years ago, with the first food photo being reported in 1832 by the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. With Instagram launching in 2010 it has changed the perception on the food photography persona. Now in 2018, food photos are posted mainly on Instagram with over 95 million photos uploaded a day. With the most photographed food being pizza followed by sushi and steak. Looking at the first food photograph and the photos nowadays shows just how far the photography world and food itself has come.
The 1832 image (below) sets a scene with the dinner table fully set with a plant sitting in the far-left corner. There is no close image of the food itself whereas the images nowadays are made up of lots of close ups.
Below you can see a photo of a pizza close up and some of the ingredients scattered around the sides of the dish. This is a perfect example of the food photos we see today.
In 1949 a recipe book entitled “New Recipes for Good Eating”, shows a motherly figure watching the kids in the kitchen, after frying some doughnuts. Here, as said by Julia Turshen, they were capturing and selling an idea which wasn’t much of a reality to most. This just shows that not just todays food photos have a fantasy about them, but it did a hundred years ago too. Pictures of food have been available by not only the everyday social media users but also the amazing chefs worldwide create art in not only their food dishes but also their photos of the recipes they have created, be it in recipe book, social media, websites or magazines.
If we think about it, food is life, we need food to survive. So why not share the thing that we all dearly love? When meeting up with friends or family, whatever the age it is usually done over food. A night out consists of a dance in a club followed by food from the local. While the older population will go for afternoon tea or dinner and drinks. Nearly every social event consists of us eating but first before the food goes near our lips, we take a wee little photo and press upload to our social media platform of choice. Some people love photography so want to capture the food in the right lighting, the perfect background and while the steam is evaporating up. Others want to capture the moment with the people in which they are dinning with and share it for the world to see. Whatever prompts you, take the photo.
I think food photography has developed also because over 2.1 billion people own smartphones which have good camera properties. Therefore, nowadays you can bring your phone to take photos while years ago before smartphones you had to lug around a decent camera. So not only has social media prompted the growth of food photography but also the clarity and filters you get on a phone can sometimes make a photo look just as good as a professional.
So I leave you here with a quote;
“Photography is the beauty of life captured.” – Tara Chisolm