TOTW: Food related terms

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emyerson
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Posted Mon May 25, 2009 4:22PM

This time on TOTW (Term of the Week), we're going to take a look at a suite of terms that tend to get attached to food photography, sometimes inappropriately:

Food
Eating
Hungry
Dieting


These four words are all connected to food, of course, but not every picture of food should have all of them.


First lets tackle "Food". Every food shot is a fine match for "Food", by definition. If food is the subject "Food" is a great term. whether the shot is of every conceivable comestible, just a single strip of bacon, or anything in between, "Food" probably fits (assuming, of course, that the food is the subject of the image and not a minor, barely noticeable detail). "Food" is appropriate here:


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"Food" is not appropriate on items or subjects that are not yet food:
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OK, next let's look at "Eating". This is a verb, as you know, so the best candidate images for this term are those that show the actual action:


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Less good would be those images that show food by itself, or food on a table, or food on a shelf. Eating really does have to show the action - either as it's taking place, or just before or just after. A progression showing the effects of the eating process is a reasonable use, but to be frank, it's not a very useful term on this file:


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"Hungry" is one that shows up food images a lot, and it's one that we remove a lot. It is not intended for images that depict food alone. It's meant to illustrate the desire for, need for, or perhaps the lack of food. A good use of "Hungry":


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Once again, a shot of food by itself doesn't really convey "Hungry". We need to see the want for or need for food to convey the concept. Does that mean only shots with humans (or animals or 3d robots or what have you) can get the term "Hungry"? Not at all. The ingenuity of iStockers being what it is, I don't doubt at all your ability to find a creative way to convey the concept through other means. The want of food, though, is the central component that needs to be in place for "Hungry" to really be a valid term.


That brings us to the worst of the bunch - "Dieting". Worst because it seems to be the most likely to be spammed. "Dieting" is meant for those images that clearly convey healthy dining choices NOT those images that show healthful foods. I'll say that one again - images of apples isolated on white are not good candidates for "Dieting" because they fail to show a healthy eating choice. Good dieting images include:


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This one is great because it clearly shows (in a humorous way) the decision to limit portion size - key to the concept of dieting.


Not so great for "Dieting" are those images that show slim people, those that show food without the context of healthy food choices, and those that show people making bad food choices (we don't generally allow antonymical keywording).


Questions? Comments? Post 'em! Let's discuss.






Post script... As always, the images shown in a TOTW thread are from portfolios from contributors who have given me their express consent for this kind of sample usage.
Whiteway
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Posted Tue May 26, 2009 12:30AM
Nice one, Ethan.

Did you shimmy around the difference between 'eating' and 'feeding'? Or is that for another day?
emyerson
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Posted Tue May 26, 2009 12:32AM
Posted By Whiteway:
Nice one, Ethan.

Did you shimmy around the difference between 'eating' and 'feeding'? Or is that for another day?

Any shimmying was purely coincidental. I have to get some sleep now, but in a few hours I'll gladly weigh in on that.
kbwills
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Posted Fri May 29, 2009 5:23PM

Interesting and clear. 


I do have two  comments on the "hungry" images. 


The man 'eating' the laptop conveys frustration as the first impression, more like Mike Tyson biting his opponent's ear off, than someone so hungry that a laptop becomes appetising.


The kid with the cupcake (right term?) seems as if he is anticipating a treat, but he doesn't look all that hungry to me.


Having said that, the word 'hungry' is associated (to me) with those terrible images of children in the third world. I struggle to think of an image which conveys 'hunger' in a first world context...


All IMO


REGARDS
emyerson
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 125 Audio downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto IllustratorExclusive iStockphoto Audio ArtistForum Moderator
Posted Fri May 29, 2009 9:00PM
Posted By kbwills:

Interesting and clear.


I do have two comments on the "hungry" images.


The man 'eating' the laptop conveys frustration as the first impression, more like Mike Tyson biting his opponent's ear off, than someone so hungry that a laptop becomes appetising.


The kid with the cupcake (right term?) seems as if he is anticipating a treat, but he doesn't look all that hungry to me.


Having said that, the word 'hungry' is associated (to me) with those terrible images of children in the third world. I struggle to think of an image which conveys 'hunger' in a first world context...


All IMO


REGARDS



Absolutely there are some cultural associations that translation alone won't cover - here in the States, for instance, there's a difference between "Hunger" and "Starvation"; it's the latter that is usually associated with the poverty and famine in the Third World context you mention, while the former is usually more for the quotidian sense that it's time to eat.


 
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