Are Food Paparazzi a Pain in the Ass?

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You know you've seen them. Heck, maybe you're one of them (like me): People who obsessively document their meals, whipping out camera phones or even serious, professional quality photog equipment to get shots of food to share online, whether for a blog or for social media. Sure, they're hungry, but they can't dig in until they get the lighting just right.

These are the food paparazzi, according to a piece on public radio's Marketplace earlier this week. The segment explored ways in which the boom in food blogging hasn't always been a good thing for restaurant owners, who sometimes see customers' ritual of setting up food photos -- complete with flash and tripod -- as disruptive to the dining atmosphere. Food bloggers are infamous for taking their sweet old time with din din.

In some high-end eateries, photography is banned completely. Other restaurateurs don't mind, and simply enjoy the free publicity.

One local restaurant, Morning Glory Cafe, is whole-heartedly with the paparazzi camp, and is even taking a new step to specifically encourage customers to snap away.

On the restaurant's new website, guests are invited to take food shots and pictures of themselves hanging out and getting their morning grub on there, and then email them to the restaurant. Submissions will be included in Morning Glory's own Flickr feed.

Sure, Morning Glory is tucked away at the bucolic Farm at South Mountain, and feels blissfully away from urban life, but something about this is so futuristic. How will technology and social media affect the dining experience in years to come? I suspect this is just the beginning.

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