Thursday, January 27, 2011

Food Photography

I oscillate between oohing and ahhing over really beautiful food photography and gritting my teeth. My artistic side really loves making beautiful food and presenting it well. I am a baker, after all, and I get an inordinate thrill from taking raw ingredients and creating something completely new.

And then there's the other side of me that wants everyone to cook and to cook often, and I get the impression that one of the (many) reasons that people don't cook more is because food professionals make everything look difficult. If you read Martha Stewart Living or Saveur or Food and Wine'll notice that all the food looks immaculate. Fresh, beautiful, and served in appropriate dishes with appropriate utensils on appropriate table linens. It's kind of disgusting, but there are important things to remember when you see really perfect looking food:

1.) The people that cook the food and stage the food and photograph the food are professionals
2.) These people don't often get to eat hot meals or must eat while scurrying around the kitchen because they have umpteen other recipes to test and photograph that day
3.) These people are often perfectionists who thrive off making things "better than" everyone else
4.) It doesn't matter so much what the food looks like as what it tastes like

I'm all for accessibility, and food is no different for me. In my opinion, you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen to make delicious, healthy food, nor do you have to spend half your paycheck for the right ingredients. I often make complex, lengthy recipes because 1.) it's my job, and 2.) I actually really enjoy it.

So I show you these photos with some hesitation. I'm really proud of the photos we've been taking the past few busy days at the test kitchen, but I also want to make sure that I don't come off as a bragging little wench parading her great photos in front of her readers. I guess my point is not to take food too seriously. Cooking is easy and can be really enjoyable. Don't stress over what the end result looks like.

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