Food photography is notoriously difficult. A slight tweak of the lighting can turn a delicious plate into a visual disaster. Martha Stewart knows this firsthand, but it hasn't stopped her from tweeting the resulting photos anyway.
Her Twitter stream has featured a veritable feast of ickiness lately. She describes one of the more recent examples as "Iceberg wedge with homemade Russian dressing. Perfect salad for the onion soup lunch." Sounds like a lovely snack, right? But it looks like something the dog dragged in. Another photo, of a foie gras walnut brioche, gives the impression the dish might have come straight from an Alpo can.
Best slow cooked onion soup with baguette croutons and gruyere and Comte cheese melted on top. Garden onions pic.twitter.com/VNFkeiV3o3— Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) November 17, 2013
Twitter users have shared some priceless reactions to the photos. New York Times travel section editor Dan Saltzstein even chimed in, tweeting "Literally one of the worst food shots I've ever seen" in reference to the iceberg wedge. The feedback is also starting to popularize the hashtag #struggleplate, a reference to an unappetizing dish.
Stewart isn't immune to the criticism. She responded with a tweet saying, "There seems to be some buzz about my food pics. Actually the onion soup was utterly delicious and the ice berg wedge divine." I'm sure it was divine in natural lighting.
Stewart is hardly the only bad food-photography culprit, but she has a reputation to live up to. Her media empire is known for lovingly lavish food photos, not images that will make you put down your lunch and turn away in disgust. What's more, she has posted multiple offenders.
So, what's the solution? Just checking the images before posting would be a good start. Perhaps an upgraded phone with a better camera might help. Also, be wary of filters. While "Toaster" and "1977" might make a snapshot of people look old-timey and cool, it's probably not going to do any favors to the filet mignon with shaved Brussels sprouts.
Update: Nokia took notice of Stewart's eye-searing hobby by retweeting her salad photo along with the message, "Lovely food @MarthaStewart! We'll send you an amazing camera phone for your pics if you like?" Please, Martha, take them up on that offer.