I have a hobby: I’m obsessed with collecting bad restaurant food photography. The premise: Restaurants sometimes display amateur photos of their food in their window to entice people to come in and eat what’s on their menu. The result is often the opposite of what was intended; it scares hungry people away. Bad restaurant food photography constitutes a certain art. Look at the photo above; this is what a pancake would look like if it took a bad selfie – why the hell would you put this in your restaurant window!?
Blurry, badly lit, out-of-focus, maybe shot with a disposable camera, orjust plain poorly framed, this genre of photography is deserving of a little recognition from the art community. So here’s a brief sampling and critique of the bad restaurant food photography I found around New York. Grab a napkin and leave your napkin at home -it’s time to marvel at these culinary photographic mishaps.
Name of Artwork: Operation
If I attended medical school, would this be what witnessing a procedure done on a cadaver would look like? I’m pretty sure the owner of this eatery has no interest in driving in customers. Bon appétit!
Name of Artwork: Rainbow Trout $8.95
You have to admire this photographer’s interpretation of his masterwork entitled, “Rainbow Trout $8.95.” This food image–possibly a fish dish, possibly some sort of hardening yellow liquid–brings to mind the surreal work of 20th century photographer Man Ray. Nice use of double negative effect to bring out the phosphorescent greens.
Name of Artwork: Zombie Apocalypse
Welcome to hell. This is the "bad restaurant food photography" equivalent of the zombie apocalypse.
Name of Artwork: French Toast Glory Hole
Is this what happens when two pieces of French toast go to a glory hole? Subtext of photo: "This restaurant is not interested in having your business! Go away!"
Name of Artwork: The Plague
The photograph seems to pictorially simulate what happens when chicken contracts the Bubonic plague. Brick up this poultry inside ahouse and hide the children…
Do you have a favorite bad food photography? Has a window image of a menu item sent you sprinting in the opposite direction? What does the food above look like to you? Let us hear about it!