Food oh so good…

Eating is one of the best pleasures we have as humans.  I don’t consider myself a foodie, but I am an avid food enjoyer.  I’ve made an effort to take my camera on the food shoots that I assist the photographer and although these photographs are rather rushed as to not waste time on shoot, I thought I’d share them nevertheless.  We all can appreciate good food and the creativity and effort that goes into preparing a meal.   May these get you in the mood for lunch!

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All these images were shot with natural lighting with good ol 50mm 1.8, with a 250 ISO to get the shutter speed faster, as I was shooting hand-held and wanted to reduce as much blur as possible.

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Food Photography

I am lucky to assist for a very good photographer, whose specialities include, among others, food photography.   I have had the pleasure of assisting some fantastic shoots, which included fantastic food.  I get to eat our work.  Awesome.  I have learned some neat tricks on food photography, which the photographer I assist, learned from his photography mentor.  Sweet food photography knowledge being passed down.  I have noticed that since I have been blogging, I have not once included a food photograph.  So these are two really rushed shots I took at one of our shoots last week.  I had no tripod and didn’t want to waste too much time on shoot randomly taking photographs on other people’s time.  One of the reasons I havent posted a foodie post yet is because food photography comes down to the food.  It has got to look good and appetizing, hence I took some photographs while I was on shoot.  I knew the food was going to be good aaaaaand I also knew there was going to be a stylist.  Sneaky sneaky.  A food photograph really does make a difference if it is styled well.  It can be the difference between a beautiful tasty photograph or a bland, lifeless, ordinary image. 

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These images were, I’m sorry to say, rushed.  When we shoot we mostly use natural lighting, which can prove to get tricky especially on an overly over-cast day…Like this one.  The shutter speed was quite low and I didn’t want to “grain up” the images with too much of a high ISO.   I found myself shooting on F1.8, which gives you an incredibly narrow depth of field, so the slightest shift in movement could cause an out-of-focus image.  I also lacked a tripod, which many a food photographer will tell you is essential!  So these images may not be pin sharp, but they were the best out of the batch.  The food was far too good to not share at least one or two photographs with you kind people!

I, the hypocrite…

Over the past couple of days there has been a subject that has been on my mind.  I’ve seen a few discussions and debates and indeed heated arguments between carnivores/omnivores VS vegan/vegetarians.  I (try) respect everyone’s points of view and decisions that they make, regardless whether I agree with them or not.   But the whole vegan VS carnivores, I believe, is a deeper subject than just meat VS veggies.

I am an omnivore.  I have been eating meat as long as I remember and I enjoy the taste of it.   I am also a hypocrite.  Perhaps one of the biggest issues vegans and vegetarians have with meat eaters, is the cruel way in which animals are bred to just become food.  This is where my hypocrisy comes in to play.  I too don’t agree with how animals are treated and unnaturally kept in order to keep our bellies happy.  We have all seen those pictures that flood the social media in an attempt to put you off eating meat.  I’m even guilty of sharing such pictures, not to shock someone out of eating meat, but more to spread awareness of what the food industry is like.  This makes me a hypocrite.  I hate being a hypocrite.  So what are my options?  Well, vegans do make very good arguments with regards to diet and the way our bodies are constructed – we don’t need meat to survive.  We can live quite easily and efficiently without meat at all in our diet.   So I guess becoming a vegan would be an option.  I wouldn’t eat meat, thus my conscience will be free of supporting a cruel, inhumane industry.  The thing is, I like meat.  I enjoy the texture and taste of it, so the question is am I willing to totally exclude meat from my diet to ease my conscience and make a personal stand against the meat industry? 

If I have meat in my diet does that make me a bad person?  I know the inhumanity that goes into getting me meat.  I know animals suffer because of my preference for a more carnivorous diet, I know this and yet I still eat steaks, burgers and chicken. Yes, I even eat Macdonald’s from time to time.  Does this make me bad? Lets draw some similarities between this and piracy.  How many of us have illegal movie DVDs and music?  We know piracy is bad, yet millions of us still do it.  Again, I’m a hypocrite.  Does this make me bad?  The short, black and white answer would be yes.  I am guilty of supporting piracy and liking meat, and the fact that I buy and support them means that I am also supporting their work ethics and giving them more business so they can do more of it.  There is a huge question of morals that come into play and the answers are not always black and white, much of it resides in the grey area. 

I believe freedom of choice is something we were born with.  Choice is how we learn and navigate through life.  Surely if meat was my preference I should be allowed that choice, regardless whether it is right or wrong, or whether others agree with it or not.

Many vegans and people would say that any animal killed for food is wrong, but is it?  The fact is, to a large degree, right and wrong is a personal and subjective perception.  What one person finds is right isn’t necessarily what another perceives to be “right”.  I don’t think that eating an animal is cruel, what I do think is cruel is the way our corporate, capitalistic meat industry treats and “preps” animals to become food.  In supporting this system I am wrong.  Is there an alternative for the meat that comes out in bulk from the meat farms?  Can I afford it?  Or is this alternative an alternative to making money out of the meat-eater who has a conscience?  I’m also pretty sure I would be arrested for giving thanks, then slaughtering a cow for food at a residential home – not that I would.  Native American Indians hunted for food and gave thanks to the animal that they captured and killed.  They lived in harmony with nature, does that make them wrong for slaughtering an animal for food for their community? 

Although I am aware that we don’t need meat in our diet and that in fact the way our teeth and digestive system are, suggest that meat was never intended for human consumption, the fact remains is that we have been eating meat for millennia.  Does that still make it right to kill an animal for food?  Many people see animals as beneath us, lesser beings than the great human who dominates the world and is on top of the food chain.  I love animals, and if it were not for the animals, ecosystem and food chain, this earth would not survive.  It is one big balancing act and I am sad to say that it is out of balance.  I think the main beef (excuse the pun) vegans have is with the farms and companies that run the highly unethical treatment of animals for food, and not necessarily with your choice of diet.  If there was an alternative to the mistreatment of animals on farms, would vegans be happier with carnivores and omnivores?  Or does it seem to them that we are the barbaric animals, unforgiving and uncaring for other life?  We as humans have an awareness, and we should be able to see and make a call when something doesn’t sit morally with us, is this one of those subjects? 

Like I have said before people have different views and perceptions.  There is just too many of us and I think that is the problem. Everything is done is such massive, mind-blowing numbers which really makes this topic even more of a sensitive one.  If we weren’t so over-populated, no doubt things would be different for the better.  At the end of the day we are going to have to respect each others perceptions without theirs effecting ours.  Our existence is based on a duality, a balance.  To deduce everything into a “right” and “wrong” is impossible.  It’s what makes our physical reality, and we were given free-will to experience it all. If we are unable to allow each other free-will then does it even exist?   Having said that, have we not evolved enough to not mistreat a living creature and not give into our selfish preference?

Perhaps us humans are just animals.  A lion will eat a zebra and a shark will eat a human.  It happens in nature, animals will hunt and kill for food.  Why would it be different for humans? Maybe it is natural for lions and sharks to eat meat, but it is also natural for man to make tools, build homes and use ingenuity to broaden perception and reality.  We are animals at the end of the day and we are slaves to our animalistic tendencies, but perhaps our evolution will take us beyond that.  Maybe we will evolve to love all living things, with no need to cause pain and hurt to eat and no need to be a hypocrite…

 

P.S.  I am very aware that some of the points I brought up can be discussed to massive depths and there are both arguments for and against.  If you argue this long enough you will end up full circle, right back at the beginning.  There needs to be improvements made to the meat industry, but it is also up to us to make that difference, whether it is being an activist against the cruelty of the animals, you becoming a vegetarian or trying to spread awareness to the people who may not know what the industry is like.  I guess the point is that we have to WANT to make a difference and we have to WANT to be vegetarians/vegans.  Maybe one I day I will be able to disregard what I want and I end up doing what I believe is right. 

Christmas and Familia

It has come and gone.  The hype and madness for the Christmas weekend is over.  I’m sure this is said every year, but this Christmas in particular seemed manic!  The shopping malls seemed a touch bigger than a sardine can and people too involved in their Xmas shopping so they can vacate the nearest exit, couldn’t really give a damn if they walked you over.  As much as we resist we had to brave the human cyclone to get gifts for the people we love.  That’s love.  That’s Christmas.  I got to spend time with family and friends, I ate myself full and then had another helping.  I could not move, not that I wanted to.  Bliss.  I felt love this Christmas and now its finished and is slowly becoming a memory.  It now feels like that feeling of Christmas love is subsiding; giving way to a new year and all that is left are torn wrappings and left overs.

My Christmas was filled with Love, family, food and lots of relaxing.  This was my Christmas…

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