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Food mourn vs food porn – when food and photography don’t get along

I already wrote about food porn – and food-styling, Photoshop, marketing tricks  and how to make food look more visually appealing. I am not the only one around who has good a bit of food porn fatigue (whilst still being a big lover of food); the overdose of glossy, mouth-watering, “sexy” images is often deplored, refused or – even better- ridiculed into parody. Remember the “Eat it don’t tweet it” YouTube sensation by American Hipster? I still find it quite funny.
But what is the opposite of food porn? My new best friend Tumblr had an answer- food mourn.

#foodmourn- definition: food images that don’t make you salivate; in fact, all they do is making you yawn, feel nauseous or even a bit sick.

or, as someone very concisely put it – the NO in NOM

foodmourn food photographyExamples? This Tumblr has a very good selection and I am thinking of submitting a few gems I have gathered over the years. But I thought I’d share with you some of my recent #foodmourn findings…

What is food mourn?

But what is exactly “food mourn”? well, I think there is a taxonomy to the #foodmourn category, i.e. many reasons making a picture of food repellent rather than drool-worthy

  • Type of food: doesn’t take a Leibowitz to know, some foods do photograph better than others and some dishes are simply not photogenic. For instance, risotto (especially white types), white ragout, porridge (actually, who takes picture of porridge in the first place? that would be #foodmasochism)…you can see, the common factor is light, neutral colour and gruel-like, lumpy texture. The risk “sick cat vomit” effect is high even for the most skilled photographer.
food mourn

Egg and tomato, a Chinese dish, is delicious but looks very unattractive in pictures (at least, outside of my Fuchsia Dunlop book); lamb ragu (right) looks like cat food but is actually tasty. Center pic credit @valaeluna

  • Poor presentation: now, you would think with the overdose abundance of food TV shows, anyone in ay restaurants could whip up something that is actually more interesting to look at than an empty white plate. Well, this is clearly not the case. I think the hashtag #foodorpoo pretty much sums it up. Of course, food looking like poo may actually taste quite nice, as it’s the case with this homemade Nutella I ate at a well known London restaurant. Tastes great but it would just look better in a jar.
foodorpoo food looking like shit

These #foodorpoo pics come from a research on Instagram- credits (clockwise): @marinaoloughlin, @brianpilot, @rocketandsquash; drop me a line if you object to your pic being used)

  • Poor lighting and bad photography in general- yes, even for the amateur, the framing of the shot, the light and the composition does really make a difference. I sure some of the food is actually quite nice, had it been pictured in a different way. These “Alien puppies” below aren’t looking like something you want to eat right?
food mourn photography

My friend Sabrina cooked some expensive fish for her baby girl dinner- it ended up looking like “Alien puppies”. [I swear she’s a wonderful mum tho]

  • Dead food- and I mean, anything that has been sitting around for too long, or is preserved for unnatural periods of time (like this apocalypse food I wrote about here). No amount of Photoshop could ever revive that sorry, dry sandwich curling up at the edges inside a glass counter. Airplane food is another prime example – look at this dismal display, courtesy of Ryanair (I must admit thought that other airlines do a better job at making their food looking palatable).

ryanair food plane food

Eat It, Don’t (just) Tweet It!

Looking back at my many – too many someone may argue – Instagram and twitter shots, I must admit that probably I am guilty of my share of #foodmourn pictures, and also of generally being annoying to my non-foodie followers who may not necessarily share my interest in documenting what I am eating.

I see the whole #foodmourn trend – if we want to call it trend- as an ironic, paradoxical reaction to the overdose of food porn and omnipresent “cute food” imagery. It is a good reminder that food is – incredible for some- nutrition. Also, it is just fun to look at food disasters.

Do you have pictures of #foodorpoo? Or any other #foodmourn gems? Let me know in the comments or post them to The F World Facebook page.

 

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5 Comments

  1. now, is it fair to say that the ryan air pics are actually quite an authetic visual representation???? I’ve been on that flight to Pescara too you know!

    • This is true- you have to give it to the Ryanair pics, they are very honest and not trying to gloss over the fact that the food is utter rubbish ;)

  2. Love this post… I can tell I am now going to become addicted to #foodmourn and #foodorpoo. Thanks for sharing!

    becky

    • Thanks! glad you liked it! Of course, send any examples of #foodorpoo or #fodmourn my way – it’s always good to have a laugh :)

  3. This is just hysterical. I don’t think I’ll be subscribing to #foodorpoo but I might sneek a look to get some ‘how NOT to’ pointers! Ciao for now, MLT

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