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From Dentistry to Culinary Artistry: Dr. Manasi Oswal’s Inspiring Food Journey


My name is Dr. Manasi Oswal by education i am a dentist and i quit practicing to start my journey as a food content creator and a food stylist and photographer based in Pune. Ive been running my page @themillionthfoodie on Instagram since the past 6 years and I’ve learned and experienced a lot about food that i am extremely grateful for.

PC: Dr Manasi Oswal

When did you started your journey as an food, product, and photography?
I started my journey back in 2020, i’ve been creating content around food since 2016 and i took photography more seriously in 2020 during the lockdown. I started learning my way around a camera and everything about styling from the internet cause there was a lot of free time!

How do food stylists and photographers balance artistic expression with the need for realism in food imagery?
Nowadays we all consume a lot of content on social media and theres nothing more important than keeping it real! This applies to me as a food photographer as well, I try to balance artistic expression with realism by understanding the dish, using natural lighting as often as possible paired with subtle styling techniques, without making the food look fake. My conversation with all my clients and chefs involved in the process is, plate the food exactly like you would for a paying customer! This approach ensures the food looks both appetizing and authentic.

PC: Manasi Oswal

In what ways do artistic techniques enhance the appeal of food photography, and are there ethical considerations in making food appear more appetizing than it might be in reality?
I completely avoid using fake food and since im self taught and not professionally trained in this field i maintain a distance from fake food! I only deal with real food items, so my main goal is to make the dish look as fresh as possible without making it look fake! Simpler techniques like using fresh produce, brushing oil to make it look a bit more shiny, etc makes the food look vibrant without raising any ethical questions and unrealistic standards.

How does food styling and photography reflect cultural identities and traditions?

Images tell stories! By highlighting specific ingredients, cooking techniques, building a scene while photographing a dish, we can tell a story that connects viewers and evokes a sense of place and tradition. This approach showcases the beauty and diversity of different cuisines, cultures and traditions.

Can food photography contribute to cultural appropriation, and how can stylists and photographers be mindful of this?
Yes, food photography can contribute to cultural appropriation if it presents dishes without proper context. As a food photographer, it’s essential to be thorough with your research about that particular food/dish and understanding the cultural significance of it. Giving credit to the cultural origins help without exploiting in the name of aesthetics.

PC: Dr Manasi Oswal

How does food photography influence consumer behavior and food choices?
Food photography widely influences consumer choices, especially in today’s day and age where everything is added to cart/ordered to the table just after looking at a picture. The ever changing trend culture widely changes how an audience perceives a food item! All brands and brand owners want to make sure their product photos are on point and with the time. That being said people are getting more and more aware about real and reel.

PC: Manasi Oswal

What responsibility do food stylists and photographers have in promoting healthy eating habits?
As a food photographer my job is to make the food look desirable to best of my ability, when it comes to responsibilities of a food stylist / photographer in promoting healthy eating habits then on a personal level I don’t feel we hold any responsibility for anyone’s food choices and preferences. As a food photographer delicious food is all around me but I make a conscious choice when it comes to my eating habits. My responsibility ends at clicking a photo as per the desire of my client.

PC: Manasi Oswal

How can food stylists and photographers incorporate sustainability into their work?
In the past during shoots, ive seen a lot of food going to waste. Incorporating sustainability is always a team effort of everyone involved at each step. Starting with sourcing of ingredients from local vendors. Opting for reusable or recyclable materials in our shoots helps reduce waste – replacing tissue paper to clean up with a cloth that can be used multiple times. Planning shoots meticulously to avoid food waste is the most important part, this involves donating leftover food to local charities, or making sure everyone involved in the shoot enjoys the food after!

How has the field of food styling and photography evolved over the past century?
Many years ago restaurants only had simple physical menus with dishes listed, some places had chalk boards with the menus written on it, nowadays you have a QR code and you can see every dish on the menu with the list of ingredients and how it looks! Today’s approach emphasizes on aesthetics with authenticity. Advances in camera technology and editing softwares have also allowed for better creativity and precision. Additionally, social media has influenced this field by prioritizing visually engaging and shareable content.

PC: Manasi Oswal

How has the rise of social media platforms like Instagram influenced the field of food styling and photography?
With the rise in ever changing trends of social media, everyone wants a strong social presence as that means a wider audience! This has definitely given photographers like myself more work opportunities. But at the same time the rise in platforms and easy accessibility has even led to an increase in number of artists and collaborations. Which i think is great!

Your favourite cusine which you like to eat the most?
My favourite cuisine is and has always been Italian food. Give me a good pasta and im happy!

News Shot 24
Author: News Shot 24

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