Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Taking Pictures at the Table- Is it Rude?

Sometimes when I take photographs of food, I feel a sudden pang of guilt creep over me. Am I ruining my fellow diners' eating experience? Am I intruding into the privacy of others? Or do I just look like some massive stalker?

For the record, I don't switch on the camera flash, there is no sound from my camera, I take pictures extremely quickly and I don't climb onto chairs to take pictures of food. Most importantly, I never shove my hands in front my friends' plate, saying "Just give me a minute to take a picture, won't you?" (I do it very occasionally only to one or two people whom I know wouldn't chop my hand off for doing that.) 

Despite these, Giles Coren remarks: 
"I think photographing one's food in a restaurant is easily as rude, disrespectful and brutish as … dropping one's trousers in the middle of the room and taking a massive dump."
This must be the same sentiments shared by the occasional stare I get from the person next table when I'm taking pictures of my food. My food. Not his or hers. 

This article is only for those who think that it's rude to take photographs in restaurants. If you don't belong to this category, you can stop reading from this point onwards.

(photo credit: Pictures of Asians taking Pictures of Food)

1) You rely on reviews 
Especially for people who take pictures of food and then post a review somewhere, I think they don't deserve to be called rude. A less compelling case could be made for those who take pictures without doing anything to the pictures, but my next point will show that they are not blameworthy either.

Unless you have never relied on a single food review floating somewhere around in some kind of media, whether online or in print, you don't deserve to call someone else rude because you are benefiting from that review.

Are you sure you haven't relied on any of these sites?

2) All kinds of photography are (largely) the same 
If you go overseas without taking a single picture, maybe you are qualified to call someone who takes photographs of food rude. Otherwise, you can't. Why? Because taking a picture of your food and taking a picture of the Eiffel Tower or the pyramids involve the same logic. You take photographs because you have a purpose- to remember a particular landmark, to remember a good meal or to write a food review.

(photo credit: ABC News)

3)  There are tonnes of worse behaviour in the restaurant
Just off my head, I could think of some bad behvaiour in the restaurant that are much worse than food photography. One that many people are guilty of is texting during the meal or fishing out your phone to check your mail. Just because it's so prevalent doesn't mean it's alright. It's rude.

(photo credit: Robert Cargill)

4) I enjoy my food 
I know some people say that taking photograph of food actually ruins the eating experience. But guess what? I don't take photographs throughout the meal and I actually eat. Otherwise, where does the food review come from?

5) It's rude to stare 


what if they're checking their mobile phones coz of an IMPORTANT text?...wheres your logic?

Its not rude but I think its lame to take photos of food, thats what they call "food paparazzi".

Food is an everyday thing. The pyramids, is once in a lifetime. Unless you live in a remote village where a chocolate cake is the most rarest thing you've seen and ate.

well, if you want to speak about logic, here's it.

firstly, if you have an important text coming in at every meal, then fine. but if every text is important, either your priorities in life are placed wrongly or you are involved in a billion dollar venture.

secondly, it's all a matter of subjectivity. in any case, it's not every day that you eat at a particular restaurant. also, if the point of me taking pictures of the food is uploading it and reviewing it so that people can decide whether it's worth going, i don't see what's so "lame" about it.

I think it is ok to take photos as long as you dont use flash and if you do it real quick. And it is definitely fine if your friends pose with the food say during a birthday celebration...

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