On the Misunderstood ‘Food Selfie’

Taking a photograph of your food has now been equated with bad table manners. It is right next to improper selfies in the category of ‘bad things that have come from social media’. Yet to be honest, the food selfie has been misunderstood, and ultimately misjudged– thanks to a handful of people that have abused the privilege of instant photography and turned the food photograph into a mere footnote in the age of Instagram and Twitpics– by taking the opportunity to tell a story for granted and instead stating the obvious. ‘Oh, this is what I had for lunch’, ‘#lunch #foodporn #food”… all of these may celebrate the beauty and brilliant taste of the magic that is food, but one thing it also does is take for granted the potential that food has for telling a story. 

With the right words, the right inspiration and the desire to explore taste than to merely tell, food selfies can, in themselves, tell elaborate ‘taste tales’. Why not elaborate on the homestyle taste of a good hamburger instead of telling the world that it’s just lunch? Why not use a photograph of a lovely shake to tell the world about your afternoon in a single paragraph instead of an endless row of mindless hashtags? Why not write about how the taste of Jolibee spaghetti has never changed instead of showing your Instagram followers something they’ve probably seen a thousand times before? 

This is what will set the food selfie apart– the story. By taking time to write about the taste and the color of food instead of just burying your photo caption in hashtags, the food selfie will gain importance again. It will become something different. Food is, after all, an aspect of culture. It’s something that goes beyond ‘daily sustenance’ for society. It actually tells something about one’s culture, one’s society. The same cannot be said for the other mundane things people take photos of these days. 

My personal love for food and interest in telling stories has brought me to so much. It is this interest that makes me diligent enough to maintain a food album on my Facebook account. It is my love for talking about food and telling stories that makes me diligent enough to tell one paragraph stories in the captions of my food photographs. I’m the type of person who takes food pictures not just so I can tweet it or post it, I do it because I believe food, no matter how lifeless it may seem… can tell so much stories. And I love to tell stories about food. I believe everyone else can too. You need not be a hardcore foodie in order to be able to tell a wonderful story about what you had for lunch or dinner. All you need is a vivid imagination, a natural love for taste and a willingness to share. 






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