By Jonathan Hatchman
Since its launch back in 2010 the photo-sharing social network Instagram has increasingly become a hub for users to share streams of food related posts, for better or for worse, sparking plenty of debate both in favour and against the culinary takeover.
It’s clear to see that the app has become a utopia for “foodies” and hipsters from across the globe to show off their eating habits for the whole World to see, with a stream that hosts millions of grainy Wetherspoon’s lunch snaps ranging through to some home cooking expeditions and fine dining portraits. Arguably, it does become a bit of a nuisance to scroll through the day’s events to find, literally, hundreds of posts that witness people finding the need to share a photo of their breakfast disasters or an artistically decorated plate of extreme ingredients, boasting about their visit to the latest food enthusiast’s haven. However, there are ways to avoid falling into the category of annoying, wannabe food blogger.
Unless you’re either a celebrity chef or your Instagram account is solely used to promote your food related business venture, it’s not really acceptable for your entire feed to feature an amateur photo shoot of every single meal you have eaten. Of course, it’s fun to share exciting new discoveries with your friends, but let’s face it, nobody cares about your Pot Noodle or even a poorly cooked and assembled dinner looks as though it’s been placed into a cannon and fired onto the plate from three streets away. On the other hand, a well presented meal is a piece of art; all you have to do is look back at the Still Life paintings from the likes of Cézanne, Garzoni, and Cotán, ranging all the way back to Ancient Egypt, an art movement that – still popular today – often uses food as a strong focus point, generally using once lavish fruits and meats with their rich colours to contrast the often dark backgrounds. Even Andy Warhol famously revolutionized a simple tin of Campbell’s Soup. However, there’s a fine line between food displayed as an expressive artwork and photos that look as though they’ve been plucked from the illuminated menu displays of your local Kebab house.
Another common feature is the sharing of meals from trendy restaurants and cafés. I would guess 99 per cent of us are guilty of taking a moment to photograph our snazzy looking platefuls between the waiter delivering them to the table and actually tucking in, whilst receiving some discerning looks from everyone within an arm’s reach. This type of Instagram post can be executed in a socially acceptable fashion, yet if you end up posting snaps of your recent Michelin star dining experience on a daily basis, you’re going to end up coming across as ever so slightly boastful. Perhaps it’s best to leave these posts to the likes of flashy entrepreneurs such as Jay Z and Hugh Hefner and limiting yourself to one a week, at an absolute maximum.
Of course, you’re welcome to share whatever it is that you fancy on your own account (as long as there’s nothing ridiculously offensive or any gratuitous nudity) but it’s become so easy to get carried away and end up looking ridiculous in the eyes of your faithful followers. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to share some pretty food pictures every so often. We know that almost everybody loves Five Guys but perhaps it’s best to forfeit the hipster credentials and keep the “arty” gourmet burger and Cajun fries pictures to yourselves, or at least away from our extensive Instagram feeds.