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It's Just Food. Eat It.


robyn
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Even the auditory component of the cell-phone objection doesn't hold up all that well. I can understand being upset by the electronic ring or by someone yelling into a phone, but as long as the person is speaking at a normal conversational volume level I don't (and more importantly shouldn't) care whether he's talking to his tablemates or the babysitter. People talk in restaurants. Indeed they yell. This happens whether or not there are phones in use.

The comparison between phones and smoking is particularly weak because smoking is a physical nuisance -- actual smoke that is likely toxic -- whereas the reactions to cell phones and cameras (if they're used with restraint, i.e., no yelling, ringing or flashing) are purely psychological.

I think it's safe to say that for any given international superstar chef the closest most people (in the universe of interested people) will come to that chef's cuisine is images: the El Bulli books, or TV shows, or whatever. A blanket rejection of food photography makes no sense. Whether consumer-blogger-amateur photography is a special case is the only debate worth having. Me, I like having access to amateur photos of people's actual dinners. It's useful information -- the more the better.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I spent the evening enjoying a very good meal in a very good restaurant in New Orleans. My host took pictures of every dish, as he had never been there. He was using a very nice, very efficient camera, and did not take more than two pictures of each item. There was no plate passing (I actually am a little annoyed by this and in some cases, really annoyed), and he had asked the person who seated us for a table across the room, as the light was much better on the table. He did not use a flash, he was not annoying, to me or the other guests and, when someone is as smooth as this with a camera, I am not annoyed in the least. I look forward to seeing the photos. I had one dish that, in particular, I would like to take a crack at (though, honestly, in this one particular case, I really don't need to do anything but ask the chef how she made it-she will gladly tell me), and I find that visual aids are nice when making multi ingredient fare.

That being said, I have been in situations where the photographer was so determined to photo every last thing that it cut into the meal and the other best part of a good night out, the conversation. So, I suppose, it's just like everything else-if you know what you are doing, things work better and people are happier.

Just for the record, I don't think that it's really wrong, and will be the first to admit that sometimes I am glad to see the photos, but it has to be done pretty discreetly and without annoying other diners in the room or, for that matter, your own tablemates.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Well, I'm glad I seem to have captured some attention with my little analogy. Like all such attempts it is far from perfect, but the best I could come up with.

Here are a few counterpoints/ rebuttals:

"I don't agree with this analogy at all. Hearing is very difficult to "turn off." Sight, on the other hand, is not at all. Avoid looking at the photographers and the problem is solved."

Am I and others just supposed to eat our meal with our eyes closed? Keep our eyes downcast throughout the meal if the 'photographer' is directly in our lines of sight? Ask for another table? (preferably in another room?)

"The camera, on the other hand has a direct relationship to that meal. While some may not have their meals enhanced by btaking photos of the food or restaurant, many clearly do."

Give me a break! Am I supposed to eat the camera? Its nothing more than a diversion. We have both our eyes and our noses to use to appreciate a dish set before us even though we have yet to take a spoonful. We have the gift of conversation to communicate our impressions & feelings about the food set before us.

"I can understand being upset by the electronic ring or by someone yelling into a phone, but as long as the person is speaking at a normal conversational volume level I don't (and more importantly shouldn't) care whether he's talking to his tablemates or the babysitter. People talk in restaurants. Indeed they yell. This happens whether or not there are phones in use"

Very true if they do use a normal voice, unfortunately they don't seem to. Of course people talk in restaurants, but yelling or very loud conversation whether on phone or not is rude and every bit as obnoxious as taking pictures.

I wasn't comparing phones & smoking. I was merely stating that given the choice between sitting next to a table of smokers and a table of picture takers I'd choose the smokers. Strictly my personal preference and making a point no matter how ridiculous. Of course, smoking in restaurants is strictly taboo.

"A blanket rejection of food photography makes no sense"

Please don't put words in my mouth. I never said a negative word about food photography other than having it exercised in a restaurant. In fact TV and cook books are an excellent way to see food photographs as are personal pictures (a la the dinner thread) of food. These both have the advantage of normally having recipes attached.

My objection is strictly focused upon taking pictures of food in restaurants. Personal pictures uploaded to appropriate places such as eGullet, one's food blog and so forth are great and I have no problem with them.

I do have a separate issue when the difference between food as art and photography of food as art get confused, but that's more philosophical as an argument.

In any case I'll look forward to more opinions on this subject.

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I wish people wouldn't talk once a course has been served - not only at my table but at tables within earshot. Just let me focus on my meal No distracting conversations please. And no opinions on the food, either. I need to savor and decide for myself. Don't talk about the food, just eat it.

Since people are not usually talking when they are taking pictures, please, feel free to snap away.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Of those of you who have witnessed picture taking in restaurants - can you make any generalizations about the restaurant(s) where you've encountered the behavior? Particular cities - kinds of restaurants - etc.? I don't often get to "hot" new restaurants - but even when I was at GE in Chicago (which I guess qualifies as a hot new restaurant) a couple of weeks ago - I didn't see anyone taking pictures. Note that it would have been impossible to take decent pictures there after dark without flash because of the way the restaurant is decorated and lighted.

For those of you who say it's all about remembering meals - I find that if I want to remember the specifics of a meal without taking notes - I simply ask for a copy of the menu.

As for FG's comments about it all being "psychological" - well sure it's psychological. Just like being disturbed by a screaming baby in a restaurant is psychological. You're not going to go deaf or blind or have a heart attack. I frequently pick restaurants not only for the food - but for the ambience. And there really aren't many restaurants whose ambience is enhanced by photography - cell phones - screaming babies - or similar.

Concerning the smoking is taboo comment. There are still countries where smoking is allowed in most restaurants/bars. Germany (went there last year) - Japan (went there the year before). And I doubt countries like China and Russia are non-smoking. Overall - I suspect that the population of places in the world where smoking is still ok is greater than the population of places where it is banned. OK by me. I smoke. Next year may feature a RTW trip which covers China - India and Russia.

OTOH - I'm not sure I'd want to start taking lots of pictures in places like Beijing or Moscow. You might run into problems more significant than the table next to you objecting to your flash photography :wink: . FWIW - when taking pictures of street food in Japan - not only did I always buy something first - but I always asked permission. Heard that some places are run by Yakuza - and they don't want their pictures taken. It's bad enough getting your camera smashed if you're a paparazzo. It's not worth it to take a picture of the Japanese equivalent of a corn dog :laugh:.

But this raises another issue. I have on more than one occasion been in restaurants where there were celebrities or important politicians or similar dining in the restaurant - in Berlin during the G-8 meeting last year - in New York on a trip a few years - in Los Angeles during the Democratic national convention - etc. Never saw anyone use a camera in these places (although there were sometimes plenty of photographers on the sidewalk) - but I suspect anyone using a camera in any of these restaurants would have been asked to leave - even if he or she insisted the camera was only being used to take pictures of food. Which brings me back to my initial question. What types of restaurants attract people who simply must take photographs? And if you insist on taking pictures - perhaps you are limiting yourself in terms of your dining. Because - in many places where I've dined - the rules against photography are more implicit than explicit. Robyn

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I've seen pictures taken at take out places to fine dining. Most any new spot, bars, family restaurants (mostly of people rather than food) and bakeries. It just makes me curious if the photographer is blogging or recording a memory.

I just don't see a lot of difference between taking pictures of buildings, landscapes, or food. I won't be getting paid for my snapshots of any of these, but they are fun to look at and have available if I am sharing the experience with someone else. I also like to turn photos into postcards - sometimes food shots are perfect for the occassion.

When it comes to taking pictures of strangers, I am far more uncomfortable - whether street market sellers, smiling children, or celebrities. Won't do it intentionally without getting permission. That is part of the reason most of my pictures don't have people in them.

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...And on a note likely to draw fire from some, how wonderful is it that I'll never go to Alinea and spend $500 because after seeing all the photos of the food, I just can't see myself getting excited over a slice of bacon handing from a mini wire clothes line.  It's just not me.  And therefore, the photos saved me a lot of money.  Snap away people.  Keep it coming.

You'll draw fire from me for that. Because when my husband looked at those pictures of bacon on a clothes line - he refused even to consider going to Alinea. So I will never know whether or not either of us would have liked/disliked the restaurant (I suspect it wouldn't have been our cup of tea - but I'll never know). I am just glad that there have always been fewer pictures of food from some restaurants where we've dined (like Tom Aikens in the UK at the beginning - when he was in his "Jackson Pollock" phase). On my part - some restaurants have so many photos/blog posts on the internet that I am bored by the place even before I consider making a reservation. It's like I've dined there 10 times before - even though I've never dined there. Surprise is an important element of a great meal in my opinion. Someone once asked me how I could go to Per Se and not have Oysters and Pearls. And my answer was that I had seen so many photos - and read so many descriptions of the dish - that actually eating the dish would have been anticlimactic.

There are many things I like about the internet. But - to me - cooking and dining are processes of discovery. Cooking - no matter what you see/read - will always be a discovery. Because the raw ingredients and technical expertise we have are very variable. With dining - if there are 500 sets of pictures - and 500 reviews on the internet - there is very little left to be discovered. That is one reason I really liked Japan. Even though there are more than 100 million people in Japan - there is so little written in English about dining in Japan that everything was a discovery. A constant series of surprises - to us - and that is all that matters - even though our experiences probably wouldn't have surprised an average person who lives in Japan.

P.S. to Dave - Squash blossoms can be really good if they're stuffed with good things and fried. If they're not fried - I agree that they are usually kind of "blah". Robyn

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P.S. to Dave - Squash blossoms can be really good if they're stuffed with good things and fried.  If they're not fried - I agree that they are usually kind of "blah".  Robyn

Point taken, but ..... is it the squash blossom, the great stuffing, the excellent batter or ? that makes it taste good?

I might argue that the squash blossom is merely the container, not a significant flavour component.

Tempura style in Japan they're pretty good.

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I get a kick out of this discussion. My father was a professional photographer and would give me cameras in the hope that I would become interested.

One of two things would happen:

1) I would shoot one or two rolls and lose the camera.

2) I would take the camera apart to see how it worked.

Some people just love to photograph, and some don't. I really enjoy seeing photos of food, but can't imagine that I would ever take pictures myself.

BB

Food is all about history and geography.

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If a restaurant really doesn't want photography in their dining room, the solution is easy -dim the lights and ban flash. Low light is frustrating as it makes it difficult to get worthwhile pictures, but then why go through the trouble of making food that is beautiful to look at? Short of the actual gustatory pleasure that food gives me, I really enjoy visual presentation, so even without photography, low light restaurants are a turn-off for me.

I can understand people getting bent out of shape by flash photography of every course just as I can understand other obtrusive behavior, however, restaurant photography can be responsible and not a drag on anyone's meal including the photographer's. I will take one or two photos depending on the overall situation. If they come out great. If not, then too bad for me.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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well, if it really was just food... would this Momoffuku place be the hype that it is? If it really was just food, wouldn´t all the people who are now dying to get a reservation, be just as happy staying at home with a cheese sandwich?

I think a restaurant owner should be able to lay down the rules about whatever behavior he does not want in his place (and in this light, this discussion is reminiscent of the no laptops in restaurant bars topic.) If Chang does not want cameras... fine. Customers can disagree and argue about it, but it´s his call.. IMO.

But explaining it by the remark he made, is just silly.

I absolutely agree.

"It's just X; just Y it," can be said about nearly anything. How illuminating is it, most of the time? It usually reminds me of people in college who sat in classes and at some point always interjected a comment along the lines of, "You are all reading to much into this. It's just [a story/a theory/the U.S. constitution/whatever.]" It's an incredibly easy and usually empty dismissal of the topic at hand.

I think there are many reasons why food photography in restaurants could be seen as objectionable, either by owners or by other patrons, or by your own party. I've had vacations nearly spoiled by family members who spend a lot of time fiddling with their cameras. I do feel that, if you do enough of it, you are not interacting with the environment. But I'm not going to tell them not to take photos at all; I take photos myself. I'm certainly not going to tell them, "It's just the Acropolis" and expect that to persuade them of anything.

So far, I've hesitated about taking pictures in restaurants. Usually when I'm tempted, it's at an event like a winemaker dinner where the menu is likely a one-time thing. I would feel weird if the owner or chef came by and we were taking pictures of the food, although I cannot quite tell you why. I guess at those few places, I feel almost like I am in someone's home. It would be strange to go around to someone's house and start photographing the interior. That's probably my own scruples, though. At the last such event, a guy at our table had a big honking SLR and was photographing. I think he sends his pictures to the owner and some of them make it onto the restaurant's website.

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If a restaurant really doesn't want photography in their dining room, the solution is easy -dim the lights and ban flash. Low light is frustrating as it makes it difficult to get worthwhile pictures, but then why go through the trouble of making food that is beautiful to look at? Short of the actual gustatory pleasure that food gives me, I really enjoy visual presentation, so even without photography, low light restaurants are a turn-off for me.

I can understand people getting bent out of shape by flash photography of every course just as I can understand other obtrusive behavior, however, restaurant photography can be responsible and not a drag on anyone's meal including the photographer's. I will take one or two photos depending on the overall situation. If they come out great. If not, then too bad for me.

Why do some museums ban flash photography or all photography - sometimes in all parts of the museum - sometimes only in certain places? Sometimes it's to preserve ancient/delicate art - but in many other cases - there are other factors. Like at the Koons exhibit in MOCA in Chicago - you could take pictures of the pieces in the lobby - but not pictures in the exhibit rooms - even though the light levels in both areas were pretty much the same. In other places - particularly outdoor venues - I've been able to photograph Koons sculptures as much as I want. I think it is mostly a question of not disturbing the other people who are seeing the exhibit.

I suspect the problem is simply that although some photographers can take pictures unobtrusively - whether in museums or restaurants - many can't. Whether it's the result of incompetence - or lack of consideration for others. Like that fellow with the SLR Tess mentioned. So what do you do? As a restaurant owner or diner? Guess I will figure out what I will do the first time someone is sitting next to me with one of those "big honking" SLRs! Robyn

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A thought that just occurred to me:

If it's a $9.95 dinner in the local Applebee's, yeah, it's just food.

But if it's a $75+ dinner at an upscale restaurant...

If the restaurant is owned by a well-known chef, or employs a well-known chef...

If somebody went to enormous trouble to get it to look just right on the plate...

baby, it ain't just food. I know I'll get some disagreement about that, but I think it's a stretch to call the kind of meal I'd have to travel over 1,000 miles, for -- and save up for -- just food.

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Husband and I eat out very little when we are at home. But when we go to other countries I do take pictures of food that is different from what I see at home. How else will I remember the meals I had and how local dishes look.

I take pictures, without flash, through bakery windows, of people making tortillas, of pizza places, outdoor cafes, and of food in public markets. I am more interested in basic local products and preparations than high end dining, which is a good thing...since the budget goes farther that way.

I take quick pictures of dishes that interest me at the group meals that are included. Usually the table mates think it is a "cute" idea. The tours we take are mid-range and I think with congenial large group eating this is not a problem.

I really enjoy other peoples' pictures/blogs etc. of places I will never eat. I have learned a great deal about food in other countries so I'm glad others took pictures. I just spent a lot of time with Holly Moore's entry on Isla Mujeres (HollyEats.com) or short version here Holly Moore Isla Mujeres

Now that's great food eating of the type that interests me.

J

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OTOH - I'm not sure I'd want to start taking lots of pictures in places like Beijing or Moscow.  You might run into problems more significant than the table next to you objecting to your flash photography  :wink: .

Errr.. I don't think that's something that gets the Politburo here all that riled out... :biggrin:

In fact, food photography here is even more prevalent than in most countries I've lived in(though that may be something to do with the fact that I hang out with editors of food and wine magazines...). A friend just bought a camera here that actually has a *special function* that is just for food photography! The icon is a little hamburger-like thing. :raz:

Not to mention that one of the top shows here on local TV is a programme that does nothing but go around Beijing restaurants shooting the food and the comments of the presenter who gets to eat all the food there (and she's tiny and thin! argh!).

I love the programme - you sit there watching her eat for 1/2 hour with interspersed shoots of the food as she describes every mouthful that she eats! It's vicariously delightful! :biggrin:

Food photography taken to an extreme? Yes, but very useful!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Fengyi - I got a new camera a few months ago - a Panasonic Lumix - and it also has a special food setting. The icon is a plate with a dancing knife and fork :smile:.

JTravel - I sometimes take the kinds of pictures you take - like at food markets. But I always try to buy something before I take pictures (unless it is something relatively expensive I have absolutely no use for - like a fish!) - and I always ask the vendor for permission. Robyn

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My rules for taking pictures work for me. I do not feel the need to impose them on others. Picture taking like most things in life requires personal judgment. If someone agrees with my judgment they will find me tolerable. If a person doesn't, they will not.

I rarely ask in advance. I want candid shots. I want shots that represent the food as served to any customer. Also, since I am taking pictures for my website I don't want to put "should I comp him" stress on the owner. I have been there where I have agonized if a person at my restaurant wanted a comp. I do not and do not want an owner or employee to consider that I might. In a very small place I may ask permission or explain why I am taking pictures. I am also more apt to ask in a foreign country where I feel more the intruder.

I was a camera nerd in high school - photo editor for both the yearbook and newspaper. For a long time, wherever I traveled I packed along a couple of cameras, a light-meter, lenses, filters and more. Then, one trip, while driving from Oslo to Bergen through some of the most stunning geography in the world, I realized I was so busy taking pictures that I didn't burn anything into my memory. For a while I stopped taking a camera on travel. My first trip around the world, back in the pre-digital 80's, no camera. No regrets either. My guide in India was surprised I had no camera. I explained I was writing a journal and did not want to be distracted by taking pictures. When we arrived at the Taj Mahal, he shooed away the film peddlers. "Mr. Moore is a writer, his mind is his camera." I doubled his tip.

Unfortunately I have a similar sense of disengagement when taking pics for HollyEats. My instinct when food is set before me is to dive in, taking no prisoners. Instead, I turn on my camera and take pics from various angles before tasting my food. It can diminish my passion for a meal. There are restaurant meals where I intentionally do not bring a camera. I often enjoy more a second, "off-duty" visit to a HollyEats featured restaurant.

I have never been good with dumb rules though, or with people who seek to impose their rules upon me. A restaurant tells me, "No pictures," I am not happy and would likely leave. A restaurant asks, "No flash pictures," I gladly comply. The restaurant that best handled the issue, Grant Achatz's former Trio. The maitre d' offered to have someone in the kitchen take pictures of my courses. I could sit back and giggle with glee at Grant's culinary antics.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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A little while ago I took some photos at a restaurant and posted them here. I received not one, not two, but three thank-you emails from representatives of the restaurant. These weren't such great photos, and my comments about the restaurant were mixed. Most restaurateurs and chefs are absolutely thrilled to see photos of their food online, in part because they get little or no mainstream media coverage.

The mainstream, old-line media tend to cover only restaurants that are new or somehow iconic. The coverage tends to involve photography when the restaurant is closed, or in the kitchen under professional lighting. The ability to take photos at the table with a small, portable camera and publish them worldwide for free is quite new and is, combined with blogs and online communities, a foundational change in food media just as blogs have redefined political coverage. It's a leveling phenomenon. No longer do Gourmet and the New York Times get to decide whether a restaurant becomes known. Any amateur with a camera and a persuasive voice can do it. Ironically, my recollection is that David Chang's restaurants were originally snubbed by mainstream media and that his rise to stardom was initially on the backs of bloggers.

Amateur, in-restaurant food photography can also help police culinary plagiarism. It can allow restaurants in out-of-the-way places to achieve global fame. Only El Bulli can get books published with professional photos of every dish they serve every year. For the other 99.99% the way the word gets out is through a more organic process, which is greatly aided by photos.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Holly - I think you have to put food picture taking rules in 2 categories. Those where you are a customer - and those where you are not. I can see why people who are customers feel that they have the right to take pictures of what they are eating. And I can also see why other customers feel that they have a right to enjoy their meal free of distractions (not that all photographers create distractions - but a few bad apples can spoil the bunch). It's just my opinion - but I think that the atmosphere in most of the places you tend to write about - less formal places - is more conducive to taking pictures than the atmosphere in many higher end places. Yet - I have been in places that are "your cup of tea" - mostly some well known places - where photography is banned.

If someone isn't a customer in a place - whether it is a cafe with outdoor seating - a market - a store - whatever - I think it is just plain rude to take pictures without asking for permission.

And I agree with you that asking for permission becomes doubly important when one is not on one's home turf - whether you are a Floridian (like I am) in Cajun country in Louisiana - or a Floridian in Japan. One always wants to respect local customs - and - unless you know the local customs - it is hard to respect them. Like when we were in Japan - one of the most camera happy countries in the world - you would see thousands of people taking camera/cell phone pictures of cherry blossom trees - but I never saw a single person use a camera in any type of food establishment (high or low end restaurants - or even the food basements in department stores). When in Rome - etc. - and I acted accordingly. So I have many pictures of cherry blossom trees - and not many of food :smile: .

I very much share your opinions about travel photography - even regarding the trip from Oslo to Bergen (which we did by train). I always had a camera - but more often than not - the camera - when I remembered to use it - seemed to create a barrier between me and my trip. I wouldn't have had a rousing good time with the group of Aussies on our Norwegian train ride if I had been concentrating on getting perfect shots of the journey. These days - I still travel with a camera - and I do take pictures - but sometimes there are many days when I don't take any - and on other days I take a lot. There are some things that are best experienced without getting involved with pictures - and other things that are best experienced with pictures.

Sometimes - in very foreign areas - your camera is your link to people. I took pictures of one very famous garden in Kyoto with the help of other (Japanese) tourist photographers. Everyone wanted to show me the best way to get pictures. They went so far as to dangle me over a stone wall to help me get the "best" shot. On another occasion in Tokyo - we ran across a group of adorable school girls at a shrine. I really wanted to take a picture of them - but didn't dare. Then I saw them pointing at us and giggling. With our primitive Japanese - we found out they wanted to take pictures of me and my husband with them! - because they came from a rural part of northern Japan and had never seen people from the West before. We posed for about a dozen group pictures that these girls could take home to their families - so they could show they met Americans.

Like you - I am not sure there are any hard and fast rules when it comes to pictures. Only common sense and courtesy (which apparently were lacking in a lot of patrons at the restaurant whose policy caused me to start this thread). And I would never leave a restaurant because photography was not allowed. Would you really do that - even if it is the "find of the decade" for HollyEats? FWIW - I do have a picture of my husband on a camel in front of the Pyramids. Even Mark Twain would have had one of those if he had a camera in hand when he wrote The Innocents Abroad :laugh: . Robyn

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Last November I shot well over 100 pictures at San Francisco's Ferry Terminal Market. Never asked for permission, never sensed irritation on the part of the vendors. In January I was at a small public market on Isla Mujeres in Mexico and asked a butcher if I might take his picture. In both cases I trust my judgment and am happy with the results.

If I wanted to take pictures at a restaurant and in my judgment I could do so unobtrusively or, at least with minimum obtrusion, and they flatly told me "no pictures" I probably would leave. Same reason I will choose a different restaurant if I am hosting a large group and the original restaurant insists on adding a service charge. I don't like dumb rules and, whenever possible, shun them. A restaurant might suggest, in the way of a kindergarten teacher, that some people use a camera obnoxiously, forcing them to ban all cameras. Such lowest-common-denominator policy-making shows small thinking and is an insult to a restaurant's more considerate clientèle.

While I dine more often at five grease-stain joints than at Michelin three star restaurants, I can not think of any restaurant where a pocket size camera, used without a flash and with good judgment would intrude upon other tables. I would consider any restaurant with a no pictures rule to be pretentious. Fortunately, most cities cursed with a pretentious restaurant are also blessed with a number of similar, or superior, hospitable restaurants.

As I attempted to communicate in an earlier post, conversation at nearby tables can be far more disquieting than someone taking a few pictures. If a restaurant's goal is the serene enjoyment of one's meal, a policy focusing on no talking rather than no clicking would have more impact.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Other people should keep their eyes off my table. It's very rude to pay attention to what's happening at neighboring tables. I take restaurant pictures whenever I want to, whever I want to, and unless someone is looking directly at me they have no way of knowing that I'm doing so. If they're looking at me, they're being far more intrusive than I am being.

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robyn,

Given all of the exotic and luxurious locales that you visit and influential and interesting people that you meet, it sounds like you have a fabulous life.

Since my life is less fabulous and more mundane, I will go on record as saying that I really enjoy the pics people post on eGullet. I really enjoy them. Pics from posters like David Ross, Chufi, Kim Shook, Dr. J, Marlene, (I could go on and on) really inspire me to be a better cook.

I suppose if an eGulleter who posted photos had to stick their butt in my face to get the shot it would be objectionable but I tend to mind my own business.

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Pretty obvious that there's never going to be agreement upon this subject. The snappers will snap come what may & the objectors will continue to suffer in silence. So be it.

I do, however, have a possible solution to offer.

Why don't restaurants take their own pictures of all of their dishes and offer them to their customers either for free or for a small fee? They could also post them on their websites and allow free reproduction so that the bloggers could use them.

In this way we could eliminate picture taking in the restaurants and since the restaurants could light and stage things professionally the quality of the photography would in most cases be better.

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Pretty obvious that there's never going to be agreement upon this subject. The snappers will snap come what may & the objectors will continue to suffer in silence. So be it.

I do, however, have a possible solution to offer.

Why don't restaurants take their own pictures of all of their dishes and offer them to their customers either for free or for a small fee? They could also post them on their websites and allow free reproduction so that the bloggers could use them.

In this way we could eliminate picture taking in the restaurants and since the restaurants could light and stage things professionally the quality of the photography would in most cases be better.

That is not a bad idea, Dave, however, the problem with it is that it presents an idealized dish and not necessarily what the diner received. From a purely photographic standpoint, yes, the dishes would look better than 99% of what diners take, but part of the allure is to show for yourself and others, if done for sharing, what one actually had and ate, for better or worse.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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