Should We Stop Photographing Our Food?

soho south cafe savannah ga | almost getting it together

I’m currently reading Ariana Huffington’s new book, Thrive, and in it she talks about a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of a Fortune 500 company who hoped that some day we all leave our phones off the table when we’re eating a meal (disclaimer: I say that I do that 85% of the time) and better yet, we all stop photographing our food.

Food is so compelling to take photos of: it varies from geographic and cultural regions and types of lifestyle. People travel to Italy to eat pasta, to Paris to eat macaroons and to Hong Kong for dim sum. We connect with people over a meal or shared dish. I don’t know about you, but over a meal, I’m probably talking about another meal (especially if I’m with my dad).

drinking snake blood snake alley Taipei Taiwan | almost getting it together

Food you should take photos of: drinking snake blood in Taiwan, circa 2009.

It’s such a pet peeve to see people from my home state who cook pasta and throw jarred alfredo sauce over it and call it homemade and healthy all over their Facebook and Instagram accounts. I know we all don’t enjoy cooking and eating healthy, but at what point did we begin to need validation for our food choices? (And believe me, I know I need to be less judgy when it comes to food. Blame it on me constantly acting like a know-it-all. At least I do it privately, right?)

Do I hope people stop taking photographs of their food? The answer is, I hope people leave their phones off the table and if they want to take a photo, snap a pic and Instagram it later. Who really wants to eat cold food?

This post was inspired by Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington. As a member of From Left to Write I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Chat with me:
CAN YOU BELIEVE I DRANK SNAKE BLOOD? (Short answer is no one should be surprised, I’m insane). What do you think about people taking pictures of their food? I want to hear your thoughts!

23 comments on “Should We Stop Photographing Our Food?

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Ang @ Nutty for Life on May 1, 2014 8:36 am

I really don’t think public food photography will go anywhere anytime soon. Honestly, I hope it doesn’t because my favorite type of humblebrag is “look at this super cool restaurant I’m eating at.” But it really is a good point to leave the phone out of the picture (punny) for most of the dinner and only get it out when you need it for the photo. Dinner is no fun when someone’s nose is into Twitter and iMessage!
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:54 pm

DEFFFF agree – the best humblebrag is an awesome restaurant :)

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Davida @The Healthy Maven on May 1, 2014 9:49 am

Curtle instituted a rule where I have 5 minutes to photograph food before the meal and then the phone goes away at dinner. Computers are also not to be opened after 9PM. I kind of hate him for this, but I know he’s right.

Also bad food photography irks me. And people who post a picture of the one time they let themselves indulge and hashtag it #balance. You’re not balanced cause you had one damn vodka soda. And you know exactly what (who) I’m talking about ;) ;) ;)
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:53 pm

OMG I HAD A WINE SPRITZER IM SO BALANCED #PALEO #CLEANEATING #CHEATDAY

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Caitlin on May 1, 2014 10:34 am

Aiiii snake blood girl?? You are way more adventurous than me haha. I agree with you about the food photography thing, though…I usually get bored scrolling through instagram and seeing the same thing over and over, and honestly even if it’s a good meal, I don’t necessarily want to see a pic of it. Personal preference I know, but there it is. Rather spend the time talking/relaxing/enjoying with my fam and friends than concerned about the picture of it
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:53 pm

Yes – Insta totally gets taken over by food and sometimes it makes me want to unfollow people!! PS what is your Insta handle I need to follow you!!!

[…] Cassie from Almost Getting it Together discusses unplugging at the dinner table in an era where everyone Instagrams their food. […]

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Amy @ Long Drive Journey on May 1, 2014 4:09 pm

I do it, but not all the time. When I have a particularly delicious looking dish, I Instagram it. There are way better things I could be doing with my time, but what can I say? Food gets a lot of likes ;)
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:52 pm

You’re so right!! Food does get a lot of likes… it kind of bugs me because I want my other photos to get more likes lol.

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Lisa @ RunWiki on May 1, 2014 4:27 pm

Snake blood is definitely photo worthy– curious how it tasted and why Taiwanese drink it, or maybe it’s just a drink like soda pop over there? curious– anyway food pictures, my opinion is that if you’re not a food blogger, too many photos of “what I ate wednesday” is not necessary and some people can be down right annoying filling your feed with half eaten baby shit looking meals.
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:52 pm

Haha loveee your comment this made me laugh. Snake blood is used for fertility as far as I remember (but I was maybe a little drunk when I had it). I remember it being salty and warm and exactly how I imagined poison tasting.

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on May 1, 2014 5:05 pm

So I’d like to think that I’d try anything once, but the snake blood thing…I’d struggle with that :-p And this is a hard question! I think that our over-connectedness is a problem, but….clearly, I like taking pictures of my food. I’ve gotten more picky about when/where I’ll do it, and if I’m at a restaurant and want a picture I’ll try to get it done quickly, and put the phone away. I can Instagram it on the way home.
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:51 pm

Haha I love that we discussed this at brunch last weekend!! xo

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Ange @ Cowgirl Runs on May 1, 2014 5:27 pm

I LOVE that you drank snake blood.
Somedays I feel like a shitty blogger for not taking pictures of ALL MY MEALS but to be honest, 90% of them are ugly and/or boring, so I don’t. I very much do not like to have my phone out when I’m visiting with people, I think it’s rude, so I put it away.
But….if we’re talking about being connected, I’ve met so many amazing people through Twitter and blogs and IG that I really do think it is a good thing, but it’s up to the individual to monitor use. However awesome it is to connect online, I don’t think it’s a substitute for IRL connections.
Wow. That was long. And probably off-topic. And I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it before but I SUPER LOVE YOUR FANCY NEW BLOG!!!!!!!!!
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:50 pm

Social is definitely amazing for meeting people and keeping in touch – love it for that. I hate that it’s a distraction which I’m guilty of myself! AND THANK YOU!!!! Needs a few tweaks here and there but I’m also in love xo

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. on May 1, 2014 8:44 pm

Unless it’s for a WIAW post once a week or something super out of the ordinary, I don’t usually find myself willing to take pictures of my food. Too much hassle! And I’m lazy! The only time I get up really close and personal with my food is when I’m having a photoshoot for a recipe, but that’s kind of unavoidable.
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:50 pm

Definitely agree… such a hassle and I’m lazy… and did I mention to hungry to stop to take a photo?

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Dani on May 1, 2014 9:51 pm

I have a love-hate view toward food photos. Food photos are ok if (1) if you’re documenting a recipe, (2) you are reviewing the restaurant, or (3) the restaurant is on your bucket list. I’ll give a pass to bloggers, too, because y’all help me to learn things. I think that home cooking photos in-and-of-themselves are interesting, because I do think it’s about validation. I have had a few moments where I stepped back and thought ‘wow, it worked!’ or ask ‘what went wrong?’. Otherwise, I don’t post photos of daily meals, because I assume that living people feed themselves and don’t need to post a play-by-play.

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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:48 pm

I LOVE THIS COMMENT: I assume that living people feed themselves and don’t need to post a play-by-play. YES! People don’t understand that social media isn’t for a play-by-play of their lives… no one cares unless it’s a big/cool/funny moment!

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Janaki on May 1, 2014 10:54 pm

I don’t have a problem with folks taking photos of their food – although, I agree with you that some foods don’t really warrant photos – but what I really find disturbing is when folks immediately pull out their phones when they sit down to dine with their families (did you see the study about this? http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/03/05/peds.2013-3703.abstract) and the tactics that the kids go through to get their parents’ attention off their smartphones?? UGH! when you eat, put the phone away!! (that goes for when you’re driving a car, too, btw!)
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:48 pm

I haven’t seen that study but I do have something similar that happened… this guy hit me with his kid’s stroller because he was walking it and texting. So sad. Like hang with your kid for one moment, distraction free!

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Anna on May 12, 2014 10:26 pm

I’m so curious about what snake blood tasted like!
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Cassie on May 16, 2014 4:16 pm

Pretty terribly, from what I remember. Kind of warm and salty? Ew, getting shivers thinking about it.

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