The Art of Bad Food Photography

Features Harmon Leon 17:20, Jul 27 2011

Don't you love when restaurant owners take blurry photos of their menu items?

One of my hobbies is pulling out my cell phone and taking pictures of bad restaurant food photography.

It's when restaurants display amateur photos of their food in their window to entice people to come in and eat what's on their menu. Except, the result is often the opposite effect--it scares hungry customers away. Blurry, badly lit, out-of-focus, maybe shot with a disposable camera, or just plain poorly framed--there's a certain art to bad restaurant food photography. This photography genre is deserving of a little recognition from the art community.

So here's a brief sampling I found near Chinatown eateries of their culinary-displeasing photographic works of art. Yes, marvel at the art of.......Bad Restaurant Food Photography!


Didn't I see this dish in the Al Gore documentary, An Inconvenient Truth? Surely this has got to be one of the horrific after effects of global warming. Poor creature: struck down in its prime due to a hole in the ozone layer.


Okay, either the restaurant owner was too lazy to get a high res photo of a lobster served on his menu, or this is one f-ed up lobster. Seriously, if you're going to take the trouble to sell expensive lobster at your eatery at least take the time to enlarge a 300-600 dpi image.


You have to admire this photographer's interpretation of his masterwork entitled, "Rainbow Trout $8.95." This food image--possibly a fish dish, possibly some sort of hardening yellow liquid--brings to mind the surreal work of 20th century photographer Man Ray. Nice use of double negative effect to bring out the phosphorescent greens.
I'm very much a fan of the surreal work of Salvador Dali. That's why I enjoyed this establishments contribution to the genre. This is the food equivalent of a melting clock on a dramatic landscape; denoting the persistence of memory. Makes me question the unconscious symbolism of the relativity of space and time. How about you?
They have a new feature now on cameras. It's called "focus." What it does is sharpens the image to allow people to see what you are photographing.
I like the mystery this photo projects. Is it liquid? Is it solid? Is it served on a flat plate or in a bowl? Is this even of this planet? Do I like Steamed Combination of Eggs!? So many questions; so little time.
Okay KYC fans: grab your phones and photo your favorite bad restaurant food photography. I shiny Lincoln Towncar will be awarded to the first reader to send us something funny. (*Lincoln Towncars subject to availability.)

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