We eat first with our eyes. And if the sheer amount of photos of food that appear in stock marketplaces, magazines, cookbooks, journals, and on our screens tells us anything, this has never been more true.
Food photography has been around since the 1840s, but the recent surge of interest in food over the past few years has tipped into mass culture.
The Rise of Food Photography
For many of us, food is more than sustenance. It’s a form of communication. And because of its complexity and versatility, it also happens to be highly visual.
Food and photography have gone together like peanut butter and jelly since the medium of taking images was introduced. One of the first photographs of food—a photo of carefully arranged peaches and pineapple inspired by the still-life paintings of the era—was taken in the 1840s not long after the first daguerreotype was unveiled (the first commercially viable photographic process).
Fast forward to the advent of advertising in the mid-1930; food became a vehicle to sell, not just an art form. cookbooks introduced technicolor photography to the home cooks, which encouraged them to focus not just on taste but also on visual appeal.