Why do I take pictures of what I eat?


Recently, The New York Times published a story on this new trend: restaurants are prohibiting their customers to take photos of the food they order. A couple of days ago BBC Mundo asked me about this issue. Here you can read the whole story (in Spanish). Following are my thoughts on why I shoot pictures of the food I cook and eat.
I shoot pictures of food because I love cooking and eating (or eating and cooking, no matter the order) and my photos are the graphic testimony of what I cook and eat. I like to say I’m a writer who cooks and a cook who writes. In this blog my two passions merge. A picture is worth a thousand words and pictures have been stealing space to the written word in this blog. Truth to be told, for me pictures are becoming a very important means of expression (if not my favorite.)
But I also take pictures of what I cook and eat (at home or when I go out) because I’m a teaser. I love to trigger people, tempt them, see what they think, if they like what I'm cooking or eating. Taking pictures while preparing my meals, showing the final dishes, is the easiest way to tickle people and connect to them. I’m a foodie and thanks to my pictures I’m in touch with other foodies, whether they write or take pictures or not… we are like a brotherhood (or should I say like a mafia?)
When I cook, shoot a picture and then click "send”, a circle is completed. When you take cooking as seriously as I do, you want to cook for an audience. When I post pictures of a salad, a bowl of soup, an ice cream or a mojito on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, a miracle happens: there is a true communion between the cook and that audience and my pictures are the "visualization" of that communion. As a bonus, most of the time the audience becomes a crowd.  Through my food photography I open a window into that wonderful experience of cooking which, at the end, for me, is nothing more than an act of love.
Last but not least, I shoot pictures of food because I live in what Mario Vargas Llosa has called "the show civilization." When I shoot and share my photos, I become the star of my own reality show: I let you come into my life, but I only show you what is fun and beautiful.
In this civilization we “trivialize” everything in order to have fun, no matter if it’s a meal, a dish, or a drink. To have fun is what really counts. In spite of my beloved Mario criticism to our civilization, I’m part of it. I cannot escape it. I don’t want to escape it.
If you ask me if I agree with prohibiting diners from taking photos of the food, I would say no because I don’t like bans and prohibitions but also because we all need our five minutes of glory. However, I’m not in favor of going with tripods and flashes to a restaurant: nothing that may pester others: cooks, waiters and diners when it's about the sacred act of sharing the table. As far as I'm concerned, I will continue capturing the moment with my IPhone. Fortunately, I live in Florida.
Food photography is an art. It’s hard because soufflés deflate, ice and ice cream melt, glasses condensate, oils can look greasy, vinaigrettes hide under the leaves of arugula and lettuce, soups and meats get cold and do not look as appetizing. Personally, I'm a purist who does everything with natural light, which limits me a lot. I don’t make up anything. I shoot the picture and eat the food.
My pictures are the work of an artisan and ultimately I would say they are a form of art: I see the plate as a white canvas to be filled with colors: bright, bold colors. This is why I coined the term “cooking in Technicolor”. I love to tickle with those colors not only those sitting in my table but those who see my food photography.

To see BBC Mundo's story on Terra.com (Spain) click here.
To see BBC Mundo's story on La Nación (Argentina) click here.
To see BBC Mundo's story on El Comercio (Perú) click here.
To see BBC Mundo's story on El Tiempo (Colombia) click here.
To see BBC Mundo's story on Diario ADN (Colombia), click here
To see BBC Mundo's story on El País (Dominican Republic), click here.

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