Why Food Porn is More Popular Than Cocktail Photography?

The term food porn has come to prominence due to the rise of Instagram. We don’t specifically recall anyone yanking out their DSLR and pointing it to their plate in the pre-Insta era, so one might wonder why have phone cameras all of a sudden turned their attention at food. But this is all part of history now and only a fool would try to explain the unexplainable.

Surprisingly so, the term food porn was coined all the way back in 1984, by feminist critic Rosalind Coward in her book Female Desire. Actually, Coward used the term food pornography; well, it was the 80’s after all. We, the masses, have become familiar with the term only after our collective feed has become flooded with images of kitchen creations.

Then why, we must ask, has food porn gained such immense popularity while the act of taking photographs of cocktails was left far behind?

 

Is There Even Such a Thing as Cocktail Photography?

Absolutely. As part of the wider discipline of beverage photography – taking shots of drinkable liquids inside containers preferably made of glass – cocktail photography is definitely a thing.

Want proof? Google it. You’ll find tutorials, guides, videos, articles and even thought leaders on the subject, like Rob Grimm.

But, and that’s a big differentiator right there, cocktail photography was never attached to the term porn, which suggests more sinister intentions of both the photographer, and the viewer.

So why is that?

 

Is Food Sexier Than Alcohol?

Is a poached egg sexier than whisky? Is an éclair sexier than gin? Is a steak sexier than Amaretto?

When coming to answer such a question we must consider the complexities of the comparison.

While a poached egg went through a cooking process that has transformed its appearance, whisky retains its form when being poured from a bottle to a glass. So is the case with the rest of you foods! You have the advantage of being prepared; you are cut and shaped, cooked or baked, decorated with colorful sauces and garnished with, let’s say, micro alfalfa sprouts. Booze on the other hand, is just being poured, shaken or stirred; traditionally.

 

Then Came the Mixologist

When bartenders turned mixologists, the aesthetical treatment of cocktails has taken off. These days, in shi-shi bars all around the world, hipsters behind counters, meticulously dressed with impeccably groomed beards and the mandatory tattoo are presenting spectacular creations that well deserve a camera phone being pointed at them.

To no avail though. While you might stumble upon the occasional cocktail shot on your Instagram feed, it fails in comparison to the onslaught of edibles. It sometimes feel that folks cannot bring themselves to take a bite before they immortalize – and share with the world – what they are about to digest.

So why oh why?

We have a few thoughts on the matter:

 

Folks eat more than they drink; alcohol that is

Without getting into what we believe is the proper balance between food and booze, the truth of the matter is that indeed, people have more chance to shoot a nice-looking plate than a proud cocktail. Booze is mostly designated to nights and weekend brunches, while food, well, you just eat all the time.

 

After a cocktail or two you are less concerned about your online social standing

The driving force behind taking a picture and sharing it is the desire to show off; Here I am eating something you probably didn’t. It’s a strong motivator in today’s world – yawn. After alcohol starts agreeing with you, and you with it, our attention turns to the actual moment you’re experiencing rather than your digital footprint.

 

Phone Cameras Suck at Low Light

Yes, even if you have the iPhone X, the latest Google Pixel or any Samsung that doesn’t explode – they all take pretty lousy shots in dark environments.

So if you are concerned about your online persona (and obviously you are or you wouldn’t let your food get cold while you’re clearing bread crumbs from around your plate and debating on which filter to use) you don’t want to share grainy photo because, god-almighty – what would people think of you?

Now if you are in a clean, well-lighted bar (a Hemingway reference – yes!) well, we definitely don’t want to see any pictures from you.

 

Say Hello to Booze Porn

If history taught us anything, it’s that a good slogan can go a long way. To be or not to be, that is the question; Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country; Hail Caesar; Heil Hitler… you get the idea. A good slogan, smart phrasing, can energize the masses and when the masses are energized stuff happens.

So all of you cocktail lovers out there, let’s give it a try – say Booze Porn. Hashtag it. Let’s give food lovers a run for their money.

A word of warning though. Until the revolution is in full swing, don’t just yet Google the term Booze Porn. It gets nasty pretty quickly.