Don't Instagram your entree. Stop Facebooking your fish
The “ban” has resulted in lots of people tweeting their pictures to Remedy and calling themselves rule-breakers in a hashtag. It’s all canny social-media-driven publicity for the restaurant. But he says people will move on.
“It is something that people may look back on and say, ‘Do you remember that time we used to take pictures of everything we ate?’ ”
You could argue that Instagrammers are doing what Egyptian wall painters and old masters did, following the urge to turn something fleeting and private into something permanent and public. But it’s unlikely that a meat tweet will have the staying power of a Dürer or Leonardo – or even manage to make the food look as good as it tasted.
Gary Jordan is a food photographer who has, on occasion, spent eight hours in a room with a sandwich just to get the perfect shot. He works with chefs and food stylists. A chef’s priority is to make the food taste good, he says. The stylist makes it look good. Bite into that amazing-looking sandwich “and you’d get a load of toothpicks stuck in your gums”.
He does increasing amounts of packaging shots for large food companies and is now also working with restaurants that want photographs for their websites. Hours of styling, lighting and manipulation with Photoshop go into creating mouthwatering food shots.
“Food is pretty much like photographing people. You can snap a photo of a person on an iPhone or shoot a portrait in a studio.” Does he ever take snaps of his dinner off-duty? “No way. I have to be paid to photograph food.”
Erik Robson of the Ely wine-bar and restaurant group says his diners don’t tend to take pictures of their food.
“We’re not at that level presentation-wise. Around 2008 we took the decision that if it looked too clever, no matter what you charged for it, people would think they were being overcharged.”
He has no problem with anyone taking a photograph in Ely restaurants. Most camera phones no longer need flash, and people are “just having a bit of fun”.
If he got a spectacularly beautiful plate of food would he photograph it? “I think if it looked that good I’d actually just tuck in.”