#FoodPorn: Seductive food in the age of social media

On February 2, 2014

An oozing chocolate fondue, melting toffee over a warm, ready-to-rip brioche bun, a thick slice of cheddar beginning to drip down the side of a 16 ounce beef burger - it's safe to say that all these images could be classified as Food Porn. 

The ambiguous label "Food Porn" has been known to raise a few eyebrows over the course of its history. But we're not talking chocolate spread in the bedroom - Food Porn is the common term for the glamorized and provocative food images that leave you licking your lips and hunting for recipes. The term is intended to provoke the response: "Eating this would be better than sex."

Though Food Porn is nothing new, #foodporn has been a consistently growing trend across social media outlets and 2014 is set to be the year that the hashtag takes off.

The growing attention toward food photography runs in parallel with the popularity of photo app Instagram. As of Feb. 1, the hashtag "foodporn" had been attached to 20,980,244 Instagram uploads. 

Yet despite the large numbers that the hashtag generates on Instagram, it still fails to totally dominate the app - whereas, on the ever-growing social media outlet Pinterest, the Food & Drink category is reigning supreme as the most used. It is exciting, however, that these increasing statistics are representative of all who enjoy the quality of food - restaurateurs, professional chefs, food critics and most importantly, amateurs.

The emergence of food photography on social media has encouraged an increase in home cooking. And in a society where takeout and diners are becoming more expensive in comparison with the shrinking wages of most workers, home-cooked meals are a frugal and healthy alternative. Food Porn is something that is being recreated in the home, as well as on the dining tables of America's most expensive restaurants.

Though cooking at home and enjoying the presentation of food is a praiseworthy concept, there is one problem: food lustings are almost always directly in response to foods that are certain to pile on the pounds.

A glossy photo of a chocolate-drizzled French pastry is more likely to catch your eye than a limp piece of lettuce.

If #foodporn is set to be a continuing occurrence in the age of social media, attitudes need to change. The limp piece of lettuce needs to turn into a mouthwatering, colorful salad and #foodporn needs to embrace that healthy foods can be sexy, too.

Food is an art - and art should be represented in all formats. Art in the age of social media is changing and revolutionizing to meet its audience. The art of food photography is getting society excited. And easily the quickest way to distribute such art is through the expansive network of social media. The continuous images of food on Instagram may seem mundane and overused, but there is art and excitement in the composition.

The creating of food photography can be easily linked to the creating of a painting - it may seem effortless in its seductive outcome, but the complexity is hidden.

If society is craving art and porn in the form of the chocolate cake, then let society eat cake.   


email: megan.weal@ubspectrum.com

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