Monday, 16 January 2012

Food for Thought

Whilst channel hopping on TV recently I came across celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares!" He was helping out an Italian restaurant Anna Vincenzo's in Florida, USA where the owner and chef  Cece was having a hard time accepting his remarks about her food. After much shouting back and forth Gordon Ramsay eventually literally spat it out that her food was "F###ing Shit" which ended up in a huge flurry of tears. Chef Cece then agreed to heed Gordon Ramsay's expert advice and a turnaround was on the cards. Some obvious errors responsible for the restaurants dismal performance was a massive menu and secondly nearly 80% of the food served was initially frozen. Needless to say with these faults corrected, a decor revamp and a relaunch with huge media coverage the restaurant was back in business with smiles all around.

Was thinking about the chef's reaction to hearing an honest appreciation of her food and how that painful realisation started to swing the mess around. As photographers we all inherently seek a feedback mechanism by which we can gauge whether our work is up to standard or not. It is rare to find fellow photographers willing to evaluate one's work honestly as it can be so subjective. Camera Clubs give great feedback however one is at risk of then producing cloned, stereotypical work that appeases these judges. Other avenues such as websites like Flickr are very helpful however most fellow photographers are polite and will leave complimentary comments and few would be so forthright to express their real thoughts. Gallery sales can reflect the buying public's appreciation (or disapproval) of one's work but ultimately the honest opinion of an esteemed photographer personally carries far more weight.

Looking further at other photographic parallels in this dramatic episode I realised that a huge menu would compromise any kitchen. Personally I have enjoyed dabbling in different photographic genres but there are only a few in which the photographs are more satisfying and I daresay of better quality. When it comes to freshness it is rather refreshing to see photographic work that is new and invigorating as opposed to another rehash of stale subjects or techniques. That reminds me to check my stock of refrigerated film and fortunately dated film doesn't spoil too readily.  If there's one thing I miss about Agfa films was that they had the best tasting film tapes, a lingering bouquet of flavours that made the end of the film so much more palatable!