One of the reasons why food stylists work so hard at making food look good is because it's not an easy thing to do. I never tackle food here on this blog for that reason. I know I'm not equipped to create a professional, enticing photo with food...or even a tempting photo with food.
And when you're not equipped to publish food photos, and you know nothing about food styling, you run the risk of nauseating your blog readers. I see it sometimes, though not often, on social media and I often have to turn away and take a deep breath because these photos are so unappealing. Food and love go hand in hand and if the love's not there, it's not going to work.
I'm not trying to be a hardass here. I do think amateur bloggers who post harmless photos of food that aren't professionally done deserve credit for at least trying. And most do try hard. They don't claim to be professionals and we shouldn't expect them to be professionals. So those who do this with good intentions, please don't take this post the wrong way. I'm not talking about you.
I am talking about seasoned opinionated bloggers who have been around long enough to know better. I'm talking about bloggers who are aggressive and don't think twice about criticizing other people on a whim. There's nothing wrong with being an aggressive blogger. I love them, I really do. But shouldn't there come a time when experienced bloggers have to take a look at what they are doing themselves and step up the game a little...as bloggers? Or, at the very least, have the good sense God gave a goose to know what NOT to post so they don't make people physically ill with hideous food photos?
I've always looked at blogging in a variety of ways. Some people blog for fun, other's blog to inform, and some blog to entertain. For others, blogging is cathartic...these are my favorites. I think that blogging about food and posting food photos falls into all of these categories at one point or another. And I have seen some great professional looking blogs written by amateur bloggers that discuss food and post food photos and they are always looking for ways to improve. I've always admired them for this. It keeps getting better...moving forward...not getting worse.
I also think that to a certain extent, after they've been blogging for a reasonable amount of time, experienced bloggers should be held accountable for what they publish. In other words, we're all working toward the goal of professionalism in one way or another, and this includes bloggers as writers and designers.
I used to review blogs for bestgayblogs.com and I once wrote a negative review for a gay blogger whom I thought was self-indulgent, inaccurate at times, and an amateur trying too hard. It wasn't what I would call a scathing review. But I did get a little nasty, admittedly. I hated the way the blog was executed, written, and designed. I didn't like anything about it and I was honest about the fact that I couldn't recommend it to anyone. And I was attacked not only by the author of the blog, but by the people who followed his blog. I'm talking about a blogger behaving as badly as it gets after a bad review. I didn't change my review. And I'm sure he's never forgiven me for it.
I'm also sure that some could argue that there is a line between reviewing bloggers and published authors because reading a blog is free and people have to buy books. But that's not always the case with books and reviews. I've seen reviews for free books. I could link to a bad review I suffered once and the reviewer admitted openly in the review that she got the book for free during a publisher promotion. I didn't attack her. I didn't behave badly. I didn't ask my friends and family to attack her. I took it with a smile and I sucked it up like a big boy. And this reviewer had every right to review my book whether she'd paid for it or not. I put it out there and I own my words.I know for a fact that book pirates review and discuss the books they get for free all the time. If you're putting it out there in writing it's fair game for anyone to review or discuss.
I guess the best example of what I'm talking about right now would be to link to a food photo...if you can call it that...I recently saw that turned my stomach ten different ways. Here's the link. Now tell me, does that look like something you'd want to eat? I'm not joking. There should be laws against things like this. If this were airing on the six o'clock news a warning would be announced ahead of time that those with weak stomachs should turn away.
That's not only the most hideous food photo of all time floating in cyberspace, but it also does a huge injustice to the actual dish itself, Kedgeree. I've had that particular dish prepared in a variety of ways and it's really very good. It's actually one of my favorite dishes. But I didn't have it served up as slop in a frying pan. It was presented on a nice platter, with a simple garnish, and not heaped into a pile of mush that resembles a combination of worms, three kinds of dirt, and a variety of dingleberries. If you look at this photo for too long, you'll wind up finding a few fingers and toes. I could swear I saw a testicle and a few teeth. And, try looking at THIS food photo the next time you have a stomach flu! You'd better be holding a bucket.
I know some will think I'm being too hard on this photo. But the blogger has been around long enough to know better and I think I'm being honest with my review of this photo. Seriously, I'm actually being kind. You're posting a photo of something you want people to eat and you didn't take the time to arrange it on a platter, garnish it, and work a little on the lighting? How shabby is that? Why not just call it: "Filling for Dingleberry Pie."
Now, in order to finalize this point, here's a link to the perfect photo of this dish, when prepared with love and styled correctly. In case you don't trust me, here's another, and yet another. I wish I could post the photos here, but I'm not sure about the copyrights and it's safer to link. It's also nicer to link to the people who took the time to make this dish look as spectacular as it really is. Trust me, if you try it you'll love it, you really will.