Friday, July 9, 2010

wtf? (on the Pentax "food mode"?)

Once upon a time I took a picture of a garbage can on campus. Of interest to me was the fact that whomever attempted to use the can prior to my walking past it had failed to hit the mark. On the top of the can, inches away from the hole into which trash is normally thrown was a half-melted ice cream cone. I suppose I was attempting to capture the carelessness of the user or maybe I was interested in capturing something that was not quite completely in its liquid state. I would have posted the picture here but I don't know that I considered it worth keeping, so I've subbed this other one in for it since this photo (taken with the Yashica D, the image was part of a project documenting a student project that involved them doing a parody of a cooking show) gets to the topic I want to address here: photographing food.

So I understand taking photographs of food for recipe books, online recipes or for covers of cooking magazines. I understand too the instructive/illustrative value of seeing an image of what one is trying to make, cook, bake, etc. What I don't get are all those pictures (many of which are really crappy and often times flash-assisted) of things people are about to it, want to eat, have partly eaten, can't finish. Don't get me wrong, I love food and I don't mind looking at it, thinking about it, writing about, etc. In fact, long, long ago I had plans to write a dissertation on cookbooks. I just don't understand the practice of photographing what you are about to it--diary-style, with a cell-phone. But maybe, in the end, it's mainly the quality, composition and color of most of the photos that I object to. I mean, it seems like a lot of meat eaters like to take pics of their meals and everything just seems like lumpy, brown gravy on a plate.

What's got me thinking about the food issue lately is that I've been researching the Pentax K-x, trying to come up with reasons why I don't want to buy this camera. The researching and review-reading has been fun and easy. Trying to talk myself out of wanting this camera has been the tough part. The best reason I can come up with for not buying the camera ultimately feels to me like a reason to buy the camera. I begin by acknowledging that the last thing I need is another camera. I go on to reason, however, that I certainly don't need a new film camera and that if I ended up getting another camera, I would need a new digital camera more than I'd need another new film camera. In the end, all I'm really saying here (I think) is that I don't need another film camera--any discussion about needing or not needing another digital camera kind of falls by the way side. This said, I'm assuming that if I were, once again, back to flirting with the idea of purchasing my all-time dream camera, the Kiev 88, what I'd be saying about types of cameras would be reversed.

But I digress. So I'm reading yet another review of the Pentax K-x and I learn that one of it's featured scene modes is for food. sigh. Maybe having a dedicated mode for it will make the pictures look better? I just don't get it. The photographing food thing, I mean. The jury is still out on whether I'll ultimately end up just getting the K-x.

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