The 170-Year History of Food Photography

The first image of food wasn’t avocado toast—instead it was a still life of fruit, shot by William Henry Fox Talbot (a British scientist and mathematician, best known as a pioneer photographer and the inventor of several photog processes). Influenced by traditional painting, food photography took some time to develop on its own—in 1927, Edward Steichen was commissioned by the Stehli Silk Corporation to “produce a pattern for its American scarf series,” where “he arranged sugar cubes in neat rows and lit them from behind to create a cross-hatched shadow.” This dissociative act pushed the craft further. With color advertising and cookbooks in the 1930s, another new style emerged. And this was just the start. Take a look at the fascinating history of food photography at Artsy.