Food Porn

Food Porn

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Updated Dec 30, 2013 at 09:31PM EST by Don.  

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About

Food Porn is an Internet slang term that is used to describe glamorized photographs or videos of meals with high fat and calorie content or experimental dishes with unusual combinations of ingredients. While the term was originally used by food columnists prior to its vernacular usage on the web, it has grown into a notable subgenre of food photography and single topic blogging through photo-sharing communities Flickr and Tumblr in the late 2000s.

Origin

The concept of “food pornography” was reportedly coined by American feminist critic Rosalind Coward in her 1984 book Female Desire[1], in which she wrote:

Cooking food and presenting it beautifully is an act of servitude. It is a way of expressing affection through a gift… That we should aspire to produce perfectly finished and presented food is a symbol of a willing and enjoyable participation in servicing others. Food pornography exactly sustains these meanings relating to the preparation of food. The kinds of picture used always repress the process of production of a meal. They are always beautifully lit, often touched up.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the term was used in a number of academic papers and culinary news articles, including Los Angeles Times’ profile article[6] about the special food company Hickory Farms in December 1993 and another article[7] about business executive travels in July 1994, as well as The Telegraph’s report[3] on the trend of “food porn” in reaction to the low-calorie and diet food movement in May 2000. The Telegraph article credited the Center for Science in the Public Interest with coining the term in 1998 through its regular column called “Right Stuff vs. Food Porn.”[2]

“Porn” as a Suffix

Around the same time the phrase “Food Porn” began to grow in popularity, several other Flickr photo groups adopted “-porn” as a suffix to indicate their special interests, one of the earliest instances being Architecture Porn[30] established in January 2005.



The phrase “car porn” began to pick up traction on message boards to describe high resolution photos of expensive luxury cars. One of the earliest archived instances of the phrase “car porn” was posted as the title of a thread[25] on the Buckeye Planet Ohio State Forums on May 31st, 2005. In early 2007, automobile enthusiast blog Jalopnik[26] began tagging videos and high resolution images of luxury or concept vehicles with the phrase “car porn”[26] and in November that year, the first definition of “car porn” was submitted to Urban Dictionary.[27] In February 2010, the first single topic blog dedicated to car porn launched on Tumblr[28] and a month afterward, the /r/carporn subreddit[29] was also established.



In January 2009, the Tumblr blog Bookshelf Porn[31] launched, posting photos of creatively organized or structurally interesting bookshelves. Later that year, Space Pr0n[32] also was created via Tumblr, sharing images of nebulae, planets and other interstellar activity. In January 2011, subreddits dedicated to Book Porn[33] and Space Porn[34] were established, leading a trend that would later evolve into the SFW Porn Network[35][36] which consists of dozens of subreddits dedicated to non-erotic images referred to as porn for their perceived high quality within the topic at hand. Other notable Flickr groups in this category include Camera Porn[37], Coffee Porn[38], Floral Porn[39], Door & Windows Porn[40], Train Porn[41], Cable Porn[42] and Insect Porn.[43]

Spread

In the early 2000s, online usage of the term “food porn” became increasingly common with the growing volume of digital photographs and advents of image-sharing platforms like Flickr, where a special interest group named “Food Porn”[11] was established on September 24th, 2004 (shown below). The group has more than 37,000 members and 621,100 photos tagged with the label, as of October 2012.



The earliest known Urban Dictionary[4] entry of “food porn” was submitted on April 12th, 2005, defined as “close-up images of juicy, delicious food in advertisements.” The initital wave of food porn blogs in the 2000s eclipsed with the Internet’s growing obsession of bacon, which eventually led to the launch of several photo blogs dedicated to showcasing images of cured pork meat. On January 29th, 2009, Twitter account @FoodPorn[12] was launched to serve as a real-time gallery of user-submitted food photography. In the following month, a single topic blog called This is Why You’re Fat[10] was launched by Gawker video editor Richard Blakeley and BuzzFeed content editor Jessica Amason, which soon became a viral hit for its over-the-top and extremely indulgent food creations (shown below).



On October 21st, 2010, a single topic blog called Food Mourn[13] was launched on Tumblr with the tagline “anti-food porn,” curating photographs of unappetizing food. On March 23rd, 2011, a New Orleans-based food reviewer began featuring pictures of food through the single topic blog called NOLA Food Porn.[14] In October 2011, Vanity Fair[18] began featuring mouth-watering photos of food under the topical label “food porn.” On February 16th, 2012, the single topic blog Shaking Food GIFs[24] was created to curate animated GIF images of food floating against rainbow background (shown below).



In addition to individual blogs specializing in food photography, thousands of additional examples can be found on a wide range of social networking and bookmarking sites under the tag “food porn,” most notably used on Tumblr[17], Reddit[19][52], Pinterest[16] and Flickr.[20]

Foodstagram

“Foodstagramming” is the act of posting photos of food on the picture editing and sharing app Instagram. On October 15th, 2011, the Foodstagram Tumblr[46] blog was launched, which highlights notable photos of food on Instagram. On December 23rd, the “Pictures of Asians Taking Pictures of Food” Tumblr[50] blog was created, featuring over 1,600 images in the next two years. On June 11th, 2012, the viral content site BuzzFeed[51] published a post titled “Fast Foodstagram,” which highlighted several photos of fast food that had been run through an Instagram image filter (shown below).



On May 1st, 2013, CBCNews[53] published an article about psychologist Valerie Taylor’s speech at the Canadian Obesity Summit, who suggested that excessive foodstagramming may signal an unhealthy obsession with food. On May 30th, YouTuber chonnyday uploaded a video titled “Don’t Instagram food!”, which mocked the practice of documenting meals with the picture-sharing app (shown below). In the first two months, the video gained over 170,000 views and 620 comments.



On January 22nd, 2013, The New York Times[45] published an article reporting that some restaurants were banning the practice of posting pictures of their food online. In the coming days, several news sites reported on the possible end of foodstagramming, including Mashable,[47] The Huffington Post[48] and The Independent.[49] On July 31st, the women’s interest blog Jezebel[54] published an article arguing that foodstagramming makes food taste better, which cited a study[55] from the University of Minnesota showing that rituals performed prior to eating a meal can improve its taste.

Search Interest



External References

[1]Brown University – Female Desire – Women’s Sexuality Today

[2]Wikipedia – Food Porn

[3]The Daily Telegraph – Unhealthy eating is new fad in US

[4]Urban Dictionary – Food Porn

[5]Food Porn Daily – Food Porn | Food Photography

[6]Los Angeles Times – Ode to a Beef Stick Pop and a Double Cheese Log

[7]Los Angeles Times – Executive Travel : A Snickers With a Water Back : Guests Leave the Liquor but Pick Snacks from Hotel Room Bars

[8]Independent – Food for fantasy, no sex required

[9]Tumblr – This is Why You’re Fat

[10]FoodPorn – Food Photography

[11]Flickr Group – Food Porn

[12]Twitter – Food Porn

[13]Tumblr – Food Mourn

[14]Tumblr – NOLA Food Porn

[15]BuzzFeed – From Food Porn To Food Mourn: The 101 Saddest Photos On Instagram

[16]Pinterest – Tagged Results for Food Porn

[17]Tumblr – Tagged Results for Food Porn

[18]Vanity Fair – Food Porn Section

[19]Reddit – /r/foodporn

[20]Flickr – Tagged Results for Food Porn

[21]Psychology Today – Food Porn? The Hidden Risks

[22]io9 – Food porn is making you fat

[23]Forbes – Want More Than Food Porn? Try These Info-Filled Food Sites

[24]Tumblr – Shaking Food GIFs

[25]Buckeye Planet – Car porn…

[26]Jalopnik – Posts tagged “car porn”

[27]Urban Dictionary – Definition for “car porn”

[28]Tumblr – Car pornography

[29]Reddit – /r/CarPorn

[30]Flickr – architecture porn

[31]Tumblr – Bookshelf Porn

[32]Tumblr – Space Pr0n

[33]Reddit – /r/BookPorn

[34]Reddit – /r/SpacePorn

[35]Reddit – Front Page of the SFW Porn Network

[36]Metareddit – Subreddits tagged “SFWPornNetwork”

[37]Flickr – Camera Porn

[38]Flickr – Coffee Porn

[39]Flickr – Floral Porn

[40]Flickr – Door & Windows Porn

[41]Flickr – Train Porn

[42]Flickr – Cable Porn

[43]Flickr – Insect Porn

[45]New York Times – Restaurants Turn Camera Shy&

[46]Tumblr – Foodstagram

[47]Mashable – Death of Foodstagram

[48]The Huffington Post – As Restaurants Ban Photos Some Worry About

[49]The Independent – Foodstagram the restaurant trend thats driving New York chefs crazy

[50]Tumblr – Pictures of Asians Taking Pictures of Food

[51]BuzzFeed – Fast Foodstagram

[52]Reddit – /r/shittyfoodporn

[53]CBCNews – Posting pictures of meals online?

[54]Jezebel – Sorry Food Porn Haters – Instagramming Your Meal Makes it Taste Better

[55]SagePub – Rituals Enhance Consumption

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