Diners think nothing of taking constant flash photos, putting camera tripods on tables, and standing on chairs to snap their meals from above. Other diners complain about their selfish behaviour and the way they intrude on other people’s conversation and enjoyment.
Sometimes they anger their dining companions as well. One woman complained that when she eats out with her father he takes endless photos of the food but never takes photos of his family. And they can’t start eating until he’s finished with his camera.
The photographers of course can’t see what the fuss is about. They say their pics are a tribute to the food and the chef, as well as free advertising for the restaurants. They say they just want to share their pleasure with friends.
Fortunately this photo-fetish doesn’t seem to have spread to Belfast yet. It’s still possible to enjoy a meal out without half the diners wanting to record the meals for posterity – or their Facebook friends. People are happy to enjoy what’s on their plate and leave it at that.
It’s a very modern syndrome that people feel free to do something that is obviously inconsiderate to others, and be oblivious to the angry glares and muttered protests. Even if the photo shows little but a shapeless heap of something-or-other, they’re still intent on recording it.
And in between all the fancy camerawork, do they actually enjoy the food? Or are they too busy weighing up different camera angles for the next course to appreciate the delicate flavours of whatever they’re eating?
What are all these clever photos even conveying? They can’t reproduce the actual taste of these sumptuous dishes, only what they looked like. All they can do is make people envious of the diners and their haute cuisine. But perhaps that’s the whole idea.