Best sellers among food images are those of fast food dishes, especially hamburgers and fries that are used on menu boards and in the many articles about the joys AND dangers of fast food. But now there is a movement in the opposite direction called slow food.
In 1989 in response to the opening of a McDonald’s at the Spanish Steps in Rome an Italian started the slow food movement. In everyway this trend is the opposite of its cousin at the drive-through. It has grown up in response to both environmental and health concerns with political overtones. As with all trends/newsworthy topics it’s a good idea to review what we have available to users who wish to write about or support or oppose these developments.
* One of the major tenants of the movement is “saving the regional cuisines and products of the world,” says Patrick Martins, president of Slow Food USA. “It could be : barbecue, Cajun, Creole, organic…anything that’s fallen by the wayside due to our industrial food culture.” With Dreamstime photographers living in over 200 countries, we are ideally suited to provide images of local cuisine, farms and markets throughout the world.
At one time in the 1950’s, members of my extended family owned 17 ranches and farms in Colorado and Wyoming that served their local communities primarily. Now all but one of those places is either a subdivision or part of a huge corporate farm/ranch. There is increased support today for the plight of the family farm in the US as consumers demand more locally grown produce and foodstuffs. Just the opposite is happening in Poland as large agribusiness practices are being foisted on the old fashioned farm. Certainly some of the advantages of corporate farming can’t be overlooked such as cheaper food and supposedly more uniform health protection policies.
* The downside is the massive use of pesticides, hormones and chemical fertilizers as well as the transportation costs in pollution in moving food far from where it is raised/grown to the dinner table. Photograph semi trucks hauling food stuffs on a major highway.
Slow food emphasizes the use of natural means of pesticides and fertilizer. The local aspect of procuring fresh foodstuffs ensures that the food is fresh and hasn’t been trucked or shipped over thousands of miles creating green house gases as it travels. Shoppers now sometimes decide to forgo out of season fruits and vegetables that have been imported from distance countries and wait for their local produce to ripen.
*Photograph fruits with ‘product of a far away place” labels.
* Show a local baker at work or bread making and canning at home
I live where I can prepare meals from vegtables grown within five miles of home, cooked on the day they were picked as I belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm you can visit here
. In the spring we send our subscription to the farmer and get the pick of his crops through November. At our Saturday market on the island’s City Hall green, I can buy cheese made from the milk of local goats and eggs from chickens that I can hear clucking. I have to take a ferry ride but I can also buy local, handmade butter and everything else at the huge Pike Place market in Seattle. Our locally made wine is pretty tasty too. The fish we eat most likely comes from local waters if we so choose.
In many parts of the world, the above is not unusual but here in the US where the supermarket often carries 15 different varieties of frozen pizza and most children haven’t a clue about where their food comes from, we consider ourselves lucky to live in Puget Sound.
To make photographs that can be used to promote slow food:
* Concentrate on shooting local small farmers at work, farmers markets (photograph the people as well as the displays of goods), regional wineries, small vegetable gardens and signs that indicate produce is organic.
*Dreamstime has very few images of old fashioned farming and few of small farm families anywhere. You could OWN that subject in your locale.
* Alternatively Dreamstime doesn’t have many images of corporate farming techniques and none of feedlots. No crop dusters in action showing the pesticides being sprayed or fields being fertilized where the process is clearly seen. I could only find a very few images of commercial poultry raising farms either. All of the above are useful images that will fill a need if you are able to produce them.
The issues of food, how it is grown and how it gets to the table will continue to be a hot topic and images of both fast and slow ways of getting it will stay in demand. Agriculture as an industry is a large consumer of images so don’t neglect images of the huge industrial farms. After all isn’t that where they grow pizza?
Overall information about the slow food movement
Farmers markets go year round
You don’t have to wait until spring or summer to photograph farmer’s markets
Small batch dairies
A photographer documents the demise of a family farm and the family that moved in to the resulting subdivision with surprising results here
Issues facing small traditional farms in Poland here