Taking pictures of food has become pretty commonplace. I frequently see people whip out their cameras to capture what they’ve eaten, and I’ll admit I’ve done it myself. Food photos pop up most often when someone is at a special restaurant, eating something abnormal, gets a really fancy-looking meal, etc. But the other day I was at a neighborhood coffee shop and noticed a couple of girls taking pictures of their croissant. The croissant didn’t look so great, so my first reaction was to giggle- I figured they were just hopelessly addicted to taking pictures of their food (see “Eat it, Don’t Tweet it” for more on food photography addiction).
You see, the coffee shop I’m speaking of is incredibly barebones. Its ambiance is essentially defined by its lack thereof- it’s literally just a room with some tables, some ok chairs, and a place to order. The food menu is limited, and the pastries always look like they’re a bit old. I go there for a cup of cheap coffee and the low-key vibe, but I wouldn’t claim the place is anything too special. Which is why I found it so funny that these girls were snapping away like they were at some high-end establishment.
That is, until I overheard them. Because once I caught a snippet of their conversation, I realized they probably weren’t just food-photo addicts. Their conversation was about differences between this shop and the shops back in their home country, wherever that may be. They were telling a supposedly-local man about what life is like in their neighborhood, how the places to hang out compare, and what the food is like. So really, it was a case of cultural exploration, not food exploitation. I can’t vouch for what they do with their food when they’re at home, but they were probably taking all those pictures because they were on vacation. And when you’re on vacation, everything is exciting. Seriously, it is. I have tons of travel photos that mean something to me, but seem “boring” and “pointless” to others.
Now, I’m the last person to mock a traveler for taking pictures of a mediocre-at-best croissant. I mean, I’m the one who wrote an entire post last year about how much I love wandering foreign grocery stores. I am in no position to judge. And really, I thought their conversation was fabulous. Talking about cultural differences is one of my favorite things to do, and I thought their conversation was pretty refreshing to hear. I only wish I’d been seated closer so I could have heard more of it what they had to say!
And now for fun- “Eat it, Don’t Tweet it”