Sometime around 2010, the first photo of a tofu cake (or was it a mango salad?) appeared on my Facebook feed. What was my reaction? I wish I remembered. Perhaps I smiled. Maybe I “liked” it. Or possibly I turned off my desktop PC (oh, the technology we used in ye olden days!) and headed to the kitchen. Most likely, I ignored it, not realizing that I was just witnessing the birth of a trend soon to sweep the world.
Similar images followed. First they were rectangular, after some time they got square and weirdly lit. And they kept multiplying to outnumber political rants, comments about the weather, and finally even pictures of cats. Various websites have sprung up in reaction to the fad. Like this one. And also that.
What the hell are people trying to say, when they post everything they’re about to eat? – I asked myself. And these are the answers I came up with:
- “I exist.” Don’t laugh, this one’s serious. Some people write their names on walls to confirm their own existence, or appear on The Jeremy Kyle show, or write lame blogs. Others photograph their egg sandwiches to state “I’m ok. I’m alive. I eat. Therefore I am.”
- “Food is pretty.” Some people can notice beauty in everything, be it an abandoned shack, an old bike, a lovely piece of pavement, this summer’s first strawberries, or a bowl of chips. Good for them. (The people. And the chips.)
- “I’m sophisticated. Just look at my splendid gnocchi with sous-vide prosciutto di Parma!” Yes, my half-burned pasta looks sad in comparison.
- “I can cook.” In case you didn’t know, cooking is a really cool hobby to have. Almost as trendy as food photography. I’m not cool: I never take pictures of the pasta I burn.
- “I eat healthy. I am better than your fat ass, because all I had today was some quinoa with kale and acai. And a carrot “cake” made of carrots only.” I usually unfriend these people immediately and reach for another Pringle.
- “I eat unhealthy. Fuck diets. I’m a Nutella pancake eater and proud of it!” And that’s pretty awesome, my dearest hipster friend. Now could I please have some?
- “I’m vegan. I’ve read enough Peter Singer to give you a lecture about speciesism and the need for animal liberation, but also enough psychology books to know that an image of a tasty, cruelty-free lunch will be more effective.” What they don’t know is that the omnivorous majority doesn’t give a damn.
- “I’m (not) a hipster.” A True Hipster would rather be caught eating in McDonalds than admit to their hipsterism. Unless they do it ironically, that is. Saying “O eM Gee, I’m posting photos of my food! I’m suuuch a hipster!”
My next question is: why do fashion bloggers take pictures of their outfits? You tell me!