Lately, whenever we go out to eat, Tara cringes. Because it usually ends up being a party of three: me, her, and my camera. Like many people, I’m sort-of obsessed with photographing my food. This would probably be okay with my wife if I did so subtly – a quick snapshot with my phone, say – but for some reason, she gets embarrassed when I drag out the Nikon. Doubly so if I use the flash.

Admittedly, I try not to go to such extremes. I don’t want to annoy my fellow diners or draw attention to the fact that I am taking pics of my food. But even without the flash, it’s kind of hard not to notice the guy with the big red camera pointed at his plate. In my defense, I say this: food is art, and should be appreciated by both the eyes and the mouth.

There are downsides to photographing food, aside from attracting the ire of the other restaurant patrons. It takes time to position the plate just so, focus the lens, remove unnecessary items (took me a long time to start paying attention to things like straws in glasses and Stevia packets on the table). So by the time I am able to actually dig into my food, it is no longer piping hot.

Here’s the thing, though: food represents memories. I can take a look at a plate and instantly conjure up where I was and what I was doing at the exact moment I took the photo. If I were to stroll down this foodie version of Memory Lane, for instance, I would recall…

The amazing crab-stuffed salmon from the first Valentine’s Day Tara and I spent together.
My first bacon maple bar from Voodoo Doughnut.
Our annual visits to The Bite of Oregon, a foodie’s dream.
The 2-lb. burger from Big Jud’s in Boise. It was large enough for four of us to share.
The best thing about Fresno.
That time we ate snails during our celebration of national food holidays in 2013.
The first time we tried oysters. To our surprise, we loved them.
Celebrating our honeymoon at Elway’s Steakhouse in Denver.
An artfully arranged plate of snacks during an anniversary trip to the Oregon coast.

I think you get the point.

Some foods photograph better than others. Split pea soup, no matter how good it tastes, inevitably ends up looking pale and disgusting. But a hearty bowl of ramen? Much more appealing.

Or a great sandwich.

Even something simple like pork rinds.

I have love for cocktails, too.

And an entire gallery of Bloody Mary pics.

Last night, we met up with our foodie friend Kara to take advantage of Portland Dining Month. Naturally, I brought along my camera. And naturally, I embarrassed Tara.

Lumpia from Clyde Common.

But damn, was it good. And again, I say: art on a plate.

Beef tongue Spam Musubi from SuperBite.

How ’bout you? Do you take the time to photograph your food, snicker at those busting out their cameras or phones, or do you not care because you are too busy diving right in?

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16 thoughts on “A Feast for the Eyes

  1. So much deliciousness going on here. I don’t photograph every meal, or even the majority of meals, but I will snap it if it’s a particularly memorable occasion. I do however take a picture of things I bake or make if only to give the medics a clue when they try to save us.

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  2. I have a Facebook album called Photogenic Phoods. Remind the Mrs. that there are people out there that make a living taking pictures of food. Tell her you’re merely building a portfolio for a possible career move in the food photography industry.

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    1. OK, I love the name of your FB album! I may need to borrow that myself sometime. Also: thank you for helping me justify my pastime. Surely she can’t argue with the idea of me building a portfolio! Especially if that translates to a fantastic new job….

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  3. You took a camera on your first Valentines date to photograph the food instead of focusing on her and she married you anyway? Must be true love.

    Once in a while I’ll take a picture of something I cooked up if it’s outside my comfort zone, but it ends up looking like something someone made for the first time and doesn’t score any beauty points. On the other hand, we have a friend who’s photographed every meal we’ve ever shared, be it in a restaurant or on the dining room table. I’ve never understood what she does with all those shots.

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    1. LOL. Actually, the first V-Day date involved a phone rather than a camera. A little less obtrusive, especially when I explained that I wanted our server to snap a picture of the two of us for posterity. If I also happened to include a few shots of the food, so be it. :)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ” I say this: food is art, and should be appreciated by both the eyes and the mouth.”

    I agree, Mark! Food IS art. You would love Japan because whenever/wherever you dine, their presentation is AMAZING. It’s presented so beautifully that you don’t even want to eat it in fear of disturbing it.

    Nice set of food photographs! That HUGE burger looks and sounds DELICIOUS! To me there is nothing quite like a GOOD burger a few times a year.

    “But a hearty bowl of ramen? Much more appealing.”

    LOVE ramen!

    I do sometimes take pictures my food, but not all the time. I have a “foodie post” that I’ve been meaning to share on my blog in honor of YOU. I may do that this month.

    Have a super week, my friend!

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    1. Japanese food has got to be the most photogenic of all, Ron. Especially sushi. I have a few shots of sushi rolls that I considered posting, but I figured this post was already getting pretty picture-heavy and that Japan was represented by the ramen.

      Can’t wait to read your foodie post! Does it involve, perchance, a Philly cheesesteak?!

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    1. I guess for me it depends on just how hungry I am. The longer it’s been since my last meal, the less inclined I am to capture the dish for posterity and the more likely I am to shove my face into the plate instead.

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  5. I’m a pretty big offender when it comes to this, but my food photos aren’t nearly so beautiful as yours. Reading this post made me want to go find a good seafood restaurant.

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