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Dec 24, 2009 07:36 AM

Why Do People Take Photos in Restaurants?

I'm not talking about the occasional photo of your friends and family when dining out. I'm talking about sets of photos of decor, each dish eaten, the menu, etc. The reason I wonder is that so many restaurants these days have websites that have enough photos to give one a sense of both the decor and the food. I find it so disruptive to see someone snapping away, even if discretely. To me, it's the same as using a cell phone in a restaurant - an intrusion. I guess I'm particularly thinking of higher end restaurants, but at the end of the day, my philosophy about it is the same.

I want to enjoy the full experience - decor, service, food, without the "interruption". Plus, of course, my husband would be absolutely mortified, even if I did want to do it. I was recently at one restaurant where, at the bottom of the menu, it said "no cellphones and no photographs please", or something to that effect. And, doesn't the restaurant wonder why people are taking photos?

Now, I know I take photos of the food that I make at home, but I take the photos before we sit down to eat, not while we are at the table. I differentiate this from the above paragraph because on the Home Cooking board, we're sharing what we learn from the experience of cooking, and photos are often useful to show the outcome of one's efforts, particularly when it's for the Cookbook of the Month.

So, don't hate me for this query ... I just really don't understand it, though I know lots of 'hounds do this.

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  1. Well, maybe in this day and age and just about everyone having a blog etc, and people feeling the need to show their friends every little thing they do (facebook), they have to take pictures instead of linking to the restaurants website to prove that they went there.

    Also, it could be that everyone now thinks they are a food critic and they will do some sort of write up with photos to go along with it.

    That's just my two cents.

    1 Reply
    1. re: roro1831

      Maybe - but the only person I know who does this has been taking photos of every dinner she eats in a restaurant since well before the advent of digital photography and she doesn't upload anything to anywhere, she just likes to keep scrapbooks of food pictures. And she only shoots the plate, not the surroundings or people.

      I asked her why she does this the first time I ate out with her (at a rijstaffel in Amsterdam, yum!) and she said she just likes to do it, no special reason.

    2. In restaurants and in life, I like to take pictures of things that are special or interesting to me and/or that I want to remember. Often, I post my photos on chowhound. The kind of small mom and pop places I prefer to eat at usually don't have robust websites (if at all) or even any coverage by media... A lot of time, I'm photographing something's that's new to me because I want to remember it more precisely so I can research it later. Some people like to take pictures of birds; I like to take photos of food.

      In restaurants and in life, I try not to antagonize other people with rude or disruptive behavior. I do know others might find it objectionable (though, I really don't get it), so I try to be as discreet as possible. I don't use a flash, rearrange furniture, stand up, etc. and I am quick about it. I never take photos of other patrons or of their food, etc., just of what's at my own table.

      If it's an expensive restaurant or the kind of place where I think people are there for some kind of special occasion and might find my photography disruptive, I refrain altogether. But, for the most part, I'm not dining at peak dining hours or at high-end places. And, whenever possible, I try to be seated away from other patrons and with my back to them. I keep my camera off the table and out of sight when it's not in use.

      Bizarrely, my husband doesn't give a hoot whether I take photos or not, (except that he wishes I would do it quickly so the food doesn't get cold).

      While others may think it's weird that I photograph my food, since I'm doing it quickly, quietly (you can turn that electronic clicking sound off of most digital cameras), and without the flash, I don't see how disruptive it can really be unless they are watching me with close attention to begin with, which I wish they wouldn't.

      Still, I do understand your point because I feel self-conscious about it, but, when I think it through, I just don't see how it should make a difference to anyone if I stick a fork in my sandwich or take a picture of it. It's really just between me and my sandwich (and my husband, who, again, has said he's okay with it.)

      EDIT: I think it's kind of similar to something like, applying lipstick at the table (which I don't do). Really, who is harmed if someone at another table applies lipstick? No one, really. It's just one of those things you don't do (really, you should refrain from grooming at the table, right?) but, if no one is harmed by it, I don't see the problem. But, of course, as a society, we have to draw the line somewhere about what is good etiquette and what is not. Some people draw the line at photography. I draw it at grooming. :).

      On the other hand, a restaurant is private property. If they don't want you taking photos, then that's their right and they can ask you to refrain. But, if I've just (or am about to) paid for this sandwich, I don't really feel bad taking a photo of it. I've never been asked to refrain from taking photos in a restaurant (I was, though, once asked in a grocery store though), partly because I think I'm pretty discreet about it, but, if I were asked, I'd be mortified. And I'd probably never go back. I've never been back to the grocery store, by the way. And I'll tell you what, the reason I was taking the photo was because someone on Chowhound had asked, where can I find X in the the Twin Cities. I had wanted to post, you can find X at Y place and I wanted to be able relate the exact brand and flavor etc. of the item. I was simply taking a photo of the label on the jars (they had about 3 brands of this item.) I never did post about my find. Nor will I go back to that grocery store unless as a last resort. It was their right to ask me to refrain, absolutely, but it's my right not to shop there anymore.


      8 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        P.S. I usually do nothing with these photos but upload them to my computer. But, I do often find myself referring to them years later, especially if I haven't posted on chowhound about that meal. As in, what DID I order when I ate at that place, or, was that pecans or walnuts in that dish?


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Maybe this is a dumb question, but what prompts you years later to want to go look at a photo of a dish that you've had?

          1. re: MMRuth

            It's usually because I want to recreate the dish at home and want to refresh my memory.

            EDIT: P.S. and I am often shocked at how poor my memory actually is. I swear my memory of a dish is so very vivid, but, I often discover that the red sauce that I remember so clearly was green sauce, or the meat I remember as minced was in big chunks or something along those lines. It turns out to be somewhat humbling to discover how flawed my memory actually is!

            1. re: MMRuth

              For me, it's not that I specifically search out a picture of a certain dish or meal but that I will go and look at old pictures and be pleasantly reminded of what I ate and where I was.
              I travel a lot and it's a great way to remember the tastes and smells of special dishes and places. Every time I see a certain picture of smoked cheese at a place in Yoyogi-uehara in Tokyo I'm reminded of my dad, on his first trip to Japan. He got drunk and cried about how delicious it was. I'm extremely happy I have that picture.
              Another picture I still remember is my first meal in Vietnam (and my first time having bun cha). I couldn't stop smiling and when I see the picture, I light up again.
              I think for a lot of us here, food is a special thing and good pictures help create good memories.

          2. re: The Dairy Queen

            TDQ - Good post. I agree with all of this.

            I like to take pictures so I can remember what I've eaten. Sometimes I post pictures on chowhound or on a blog, but usually it's just for myself or to show friends later. And, like TDQ, most of the places I eat at (and the people in them) don't mind. If someone asked me to not take pictures, I would be fine with it.

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Beautifully said, A to Z, TDQ. I can't answer the question better than you just did, so I will just add my +1 and this lighter to underline my support for your well-constructed post.

              thew, you nailed it, too.

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Thank you TDQ for explainging what I am thinking when taking photos of food at restaurants or at home.
                I am really glad there are others that do this, because I was made to feel like a gluttonous fool by one of my associates when they saw how many pictures of food I had stored on my camera, phone, and computer. The associate said that although I may not eat alot, I am a glutton becuase I aparently obsess about food.
                I don't think taking photos of good food that I have been blessed with is a sin. I love to make good food and I enjoy plating it in a beautiful way as well. I also enjoy remembering a meal because of the company shared. I realized that the associate was really the fool. But I assume that some have the same thinking as he.

              2. to answer a question with a question (it's genetic heritage)

                why take pictures of anything?

                to remember. to share. to show.

                2 Replies
                1. re: thew

                  Yes, that did cross my mind while typing that up. I wonder what it would be like to be in a restaurant where every single table had someone taking photos of the entire meal. Sort of foodie paparazzi.

                  1. re: thew


                    As long as you don't use a flash in a restaurant photography is practically invisible. Unless you're staring right at the photographer you're not aware of them. I find it *far* more annoying when a people at a nearby table are really loud. Turning you head away doesn't work for that one.

                  2. Many of the most memorable times of my life have taken place in restaurants. It's where we get together to celebrate birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, even funerals. It's where we connect with loved ones, current and future.

                    I take pictures in restaurants because I want to remember these times. This includes the people and the place. Of course, like all restaurant behavior, I try to be discreet. Most modern digital cameras can shoot in low lit areas without a flash. I usually don't use a flash.

                    I would hardly equate taking a flash-less photo, or even one or two discrete flash photos, with talking on a cell phone. If a restaurants tells me not to take a photo, I would wonder if they understand why people eat out in the first place.

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: taos

                      I sort of get the comparison to talking on a cell phone. In both cases, you're interacting with technology rather than your dining companions. The OP has said that she thinks her husband would be bothered if she took photos and, if my husband minded, I wouldn't take any either.


                        1. re: thew

                          Oh, well, if I'm dining alone, then all bets are off. I don't have to worry about offending my dining companions at all. :)


                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Not at all. If I'm taking a picture of my dining companions, I'm very much interacting with them.

                          The fact that the OPs husband is bothered is really a separate issue. The topic of that post should really be "Should I do XX if my husband is bothered?" It doesn't matter what XX is. Since her husband is bothered, she probably should respect his feelings and not photograph him in restaurants. I'm not married to the OP's spouse and my family does not mind being photographed at family gatherings in restaurants.

                          1. re: taos

                            Yes - the bit about my husband was really an aside - but the issue for him, as it is fore me, isn't his having his picture taken, but taking pictures of the food/ambiance etc.

                            Anyway - I appreciate all of the candid replies.

                        3. re: taos

                          I was distinguishing in my OP between taking some photos of friends/family in a restaurant from taking photos of every aspect of the meal, every plate of food, etc.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            OK. Thanks for clearing that up. If it can be done unobtrusively and your dining companions don't mind, I see no problem with it. if your dining companions mind, as with anything you do in in a group setting, don't do it. If it's obtrusive, as with anything you do in public, also don't do it.

                            This is common sense, isn't it?

                            1. re: taos

                              I think it often comes down to who considers what to be obtrusive.

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                This is true, of course, but funnily enough, even on the subject of taking photos in restaurants, what is generally considered acceptable (taking photos of friends, especially those situations where someone in the group is pleading with the server, "Take our photo" and there's this big, loud "CHEESE" moment the whole restaurant has to share and the entire aisle is being blocked while the server is taking the photo, not to mention the chorus of "Take one with my camera, too" that follows the first photo ), I often find obtrusive.

                                On the other hand, I still can't understand why someone is bothered if I quietly take a photo of my sandwich as long as my husband doesn't care. I believe you when you say you are bothered by it, but I don't understand it (apparently no more than you understand why I want to have photos of my food, HA!).

                                But, I suspect you are not alone in your feelings. I don't take food photos when eating out with anyone other than my husband, even if I really want to, because I'm too shy to ask (I worry that they would think it's weird or feel self-conscious about it). I think most of my friends would be surprised, actually, to know I take photos of my food. (And, that, during the entire meal I am silently wishing, "Oh, I really wish I could take a photo of that..." HA!)

                                I know you've described a scenario where someone is taking a photo of every single course, which makes me think you're thinking of far nicer restaurants than I'm thinking of. There aren't a lot of courses at the pupuseria or the pho place.

                                As far as taking photos of friends in a restaurant, I can count the number of occasions I've done so on one hand. Once at this very campy bar in Vegas (and, frankly, I don't really feel bad about much of anything I do in public in Vegas because whatever it is, it's got to be so much less tacky than most everything else going on around me), and, weirdly, at a TGIFridays once in New York about 25 years ago. Oh, I guess I remember one trip to Asia where a friend and I were the only two people in a restaurant in the midst of a big rainstorm and we were taking turns taking photos of each other, mostly, just to pass the time. Those are some of my favorite photos from that trip.

                                Usually, if I'm going to take pictures of friends, it's going to be outside the restaurant where there's more room and the light's often better and where I can try to get the restaurant sign in the photo (I'm big on signs).

                                Certainly, I've been in groups where someone insists on taking photos of the group, and to be honest, while I enjoy having those photos in my album, I am never the person taking or suggesting the photo.


                          2. re: taos

                            My sense of the interruption - of either telephone or camera - is not just the noise/light, but the very introduction of the device. In my mind, in the case of taking of loved ones at a special event, the significance of that lets me put aside the sense of interruption (which is still there), for the sake of having the photos in the future. Same with the phone - if it vibrates in one's pocket or on the chair because of an emergency, well, that takes precedent, for me, to the "intrusion".
                            Or maybe I'm just a not so old fuddy duddy. I've had two beautiful meals recently at La Grenouille, and if my choice had been go, but you have to take photos to document your entire meal, or don't go, I wouldn't have gone.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              I'm with you, MMRuth. It feels irrational to me, I suppose, but I dislike it when people do it. I find myself staring and wondering 'why are you doing this?' I agree that if one is taking pictures of your gathering, then great, it's easy to put it aside. I've taken ONE picture of a meal (in Rio) and I was quite embarassed doing it (and you can do almost anything in Rio without fear of embarassment!). I guess we can be young and not-so-young fuddy-duddies. It's just one of my bugaboos. Go figure.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                What about taking a photograph made you embarassed? Did you think you were drawing unwanted attention? Or maybe b/c of your own annoyance of others who photograph in restaurants?

                                I have often taken photographs of food in restaurants, but I typically use my iPhone and snap a quick photo. I enjoy looking back at my photos of Chang's pork buns or brussel sprouts, for instance - yum. But I can also see how it could be distracting or annoying to other diners, especially in a high end restaurant. I assess the situation on a case by case basis, if I feel like it will draw attention, I won't do it.

                                1. re: lynnlato

                                  Well, I did mention that it's irrational. And just yesterday, I actually took one more photo in a restaurant. LOL. So now I've taken two. Horrors. I may be about to get out of control :)

                              2. re: MMRuth

                                Hmmm, interesting, well, it's only an interruption, I suppose, if it's a surprise or not part of the plan. When my husband and I go out to eat, we both know I'm probably going to photograph the food if it's something I find interesting. He's not surprised when I pull out my camera in that moment between when the food is delivered to our table and before we eat it and, in fact, if I don't take my camera out, my husband will often ask if I plan to, or, if it's okay for him to start eating.

                                I'm not familiar with La Grenouille, but, it's French-sounding and, therefore, I'm guessing it's a finer-dining restaurant that I probably wouldn't dine at unless someone else suggested it, which means we'd be eating with other people, and I wouldn't take out my camera.


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  I guess I see an interruption as affecting not just one's dining companions at one's table, but also those who are dining at nearby tables. There are plenty of things that one could do in a restaurant that one's dining companions might not object to that would still be intrusions/interruptions to other diners. One might dine with those who have no objection to one's dancing on the table, but surely that would be an interruption to the dining experience of others. It's just a matter of degree and I do, of course, recognize that there is a dramatic difference between dancing on tables and taking photos.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    Thank you for bringing into the equation all of the other patrons in the restaurant. In some restos, the tables are quite close together and this demands certain etiquette. Unfortunately, some think that taking pictures of their plates, with flashes, and then recruiting the server to take their pictures with the food is good manners. It quite cheapened my special occasion dinner of oysters and champagne b/c my dining neighbours thought it would be a good idea to get a photo of how the salmon was presented on the plate.

                              3. re: taos

                                i totally agree....but i usually only take pics when im in a foreign land and i want to show people how amazing my meals looked....its a good thing. you wont see me taking a picture of a mcdonalds whopper!

                                1. re: missmar79

                                  I now feel like taking a picture of my next McGriddle just for sport! HA HA HA HA!

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    When we were in Rio, I took pictures of the signs for fast food places and sent to a Chow-buddy who is vehemently again FF. It included McDs, KFC and also the local chains as well as the one-off places. With my light hair and skin, I'm sure the locals were thinking "oh, lord, do we really need her tourist dolllars/reis that much?"

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      ha! i began taking pix of mcdonalds ads when i was in london for about a month. this was 15 years ago, when the dollar was strong, and the ads for "extra value meals" with the price (english pounds) that turned out to be--like--- ten bucks(!!!) were very amusing/ironic to me at the time. i'd stare at the big colorful ads on the back wall of the tube station while i was waiting and just shake my head. i finally snapped some photos, which now, years later are actually really cool to have.

                                      then in my travels i've collected some other photos of mcdonalds ads-- in euros, lire, franks, rupees, greek and hungarian and bulgarian money, etc. i think it would be kind of cool and kind of scary to make a montage of them all in a big frame. although i never eat at a mcd's (abroad or at home), it is funny how the pix of the ads kind of bring immediate memories of street life in other cities & countries right back in a visceral way. the disgusting pervasiveness of mcd's (and coke) ads in other countries becomes interesting on some level. i am also prone to taking very common street-scape pix and pix from public transportation as well as the tourist pix of monuments and landmarks. although i am sure the locals have scoffed at this loony foreigner taking a pic of a mcd's ad while in the shadow of one of the wonders of the world. . . it's interesting to me-- for the very reason that it is everyday and commonplace to them.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I must admit I had to snap a shot of "ПІЦА ХАТ" (Pizza Hut) when in Russia a few years ago.

                                2. I do not know WHY people take pictures in restaurants or other public places like them. I do know that I resent being included in their photo and take means to avoid it. I go for enjoyment of the food and not to be the object of anyone's curiosity or entertainment. With modern cell phones and other small cameras privacy is being more and more diminished.

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: feelinpeckish

                                    Even though I do certainly take photos of my food, I never take photos of other people in restaurants. I do think that is an invasion of other peoples privacy. Furthermore, my interest is in the food directly in front of me, not in the strangers who happen to be dining across the room or at the next table. In fact, I have a macro lens on my camera and the settings are such that anything (or anyone) beyond about two feet away from the plate of food I'm photographing is a complete blur. Nevertheless, I take care to point my camera only at my food and not even swipe it carelessly in the direction of others.

                                    I, too, get annoyed when people are taking of photos in a restaurant and I suspect I'm in the frame, and that's whether they are taking photos of their friends or photos of their food. But, I don't see why I can't take a photo of my sandwich if I do it discreetly.


                                    1. re: feelinpeckish

                                      there is a common misconception/idea of a "right to privacy". you have no such right when in public. The person next to you, no matter how rude you might think it is, can sit there and take hundreds of photos of you and there isn't one thing you can do about it besides leave. Worse yet, they could just follow you(hello, paparazzi)!

                                      I take Photos of the food(only) because it is a hobby(FOOD PORN!!!) and it is my right. I paid for the food, ergo I will do what I want with it, so long as its not throwing it across the dining room!:-)

                                      Of all the "annoying" things people do in restaurants, this ranks pretty low. I would rather sit next to some food nerd like myself as they snap photos of rib-eye's and chocolate tortes, than someone blowing their nose, wearing tons of Avon perfume, cackling in a near ultrasonic pitch, talk loudly about their DR's appointment for their infected boil, change their babies diaper in the booth as they eat, etc!

                                      1. re: nkeane

                                        I don't think that the statement that one's privacy is being diminished contradicts your notion of lack of "the right to privacy" whilst in public. If a restaurant's menu said "No photography, please.", would you still believe you have that right?

                                        And, I could argue that, while you believe you have the right to take photos because you paid for the food and you want to take the photos, I also paid for my food, I don't want to be in a restaurant where people are taking pictures of their food, ergo I have the right to be in a restaurant where no pictures are taken by customers. However, that doesn't quite work, as each right needs to have a corresponding duty. I'm not sure why one customer's desire to take photos trumps my desire to eat in a photo-snapping free environment. And, I suspect that, since a restaurant is a privately owned establishment, the management could ask any patron to leave - not that that would be good for business of course.

                                        (Note ... I don't actually think of all this in such strict terms ... but when one person invokes the right ....)

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          Though it does invite the public in, a restaurant is actually private property, and, in my opinion, absolutely has the right to ask you not to take photos. If I saw that at the bottom of the menu, I would completely respect it. I have no problem with that at all.

                                          As to your point as to what is good for business or not, I suppose it just depends on how many people want to take photos vs. how many people object to someone else taking them. Maybe such a restaurant (the kind that requests that patrons decline from photo-taking in their restaurants) will become a haven for those people who object to others taking pics of their food and, it could actually become good for business, (and now, probably because I haven't had my coffee yet, I have to take it to the absurd extreme) until it become the champion of a no-photo-taking movement that ultimately resulted in a state-wide ban on taking photos in public places. Or, maybe the restaurant should seat some diners in a photo-taking room and others in a non-photo-taking room.

                                          In all seriousness, though, I am really astonished to hear how offensive it is for you if I, off in a corner in the restaurant, with my back to you and the flash off, pull my camera out, quietly snap a photo of my sandwich and perhaps my husband's sandwich, then put my camera away. It's one of those aspects of my own behavior, with all of those precautions that I've taken, that I never dreamed could really bother someone and, I suppose, that I need to reconsider. It feels like a victimless crime to me. The kind where you might look over during the 30 seconds it took me to do all that and go, "How gauche", but the kind that wouldn't ruin your entire meal beyond a mere 30 seconds of irritation. But, apparently, I have some more thinking to do on that point as, of course, I really don't want to be an irritation to people, even if these photos bring me a great deal of joy.

                                          Interesting discussion, thank you!


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Honestly - I may be making more out of this than there is to make. I was genuinely curious about it, and I wouldn't do it, and I guess I do think of it as being a bit gauche, but it's not as if I let it ruin my meal by ANY means.

                                            And, I do think there is a difference between taking a quick snap of a sandwich or two, than what it must take to "document" one's entire meal from entrance, to photographing the menu, the place settings, the bottles of wine, one's waiter, each dish brought to the table, various other photos of the dining room, etc., the gift bag one gets when leaving ....

                                            So, I guess for me there is also a difference between taking a quick snap or two, versus taking photos throughout the meal. For, me, once the meal starts, I want to enjoy it and be there in the moment, not taking photos to record the meal for posterity. At the end of the day, my original query really was WHY do people what to document an entire meal (and often it seems, every entire meal they eat out) for posterity. Someday is someone just going to start video taping an entire meal?

                                            The issue of my not liking it being done is a different one from wondering while other people like to do it, which is the one I was trying to understand.

                                            Merry Christmas!

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Ya know, TDQ, I suspect if everyone were as discreet as you clearly are, then rarely would anyone notice it and therefore it would never have become a subject for discussion. Does that make sense? And, as I mentioned, it's one of my irrational perhaps "thangs." You can take pictures next to me anytime :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                That's a good way to put it. If people don't notice, shoot away. If people do a whiplash thing and stare, it's time to put the camera away.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Thank you, MMRuth and c oliver and your additional comments. I'm glad to know that my efforts to be discreet do make at least a little difference. There are situations where I feel very self-conscious taking photos, so don't. It's not that I've gotten the "whiplash/staring thing" (haha chowser, funny!) , yet, but I just get that sense that I would. In any situation, I suppose, it's important to pay attention to social cues, if your goal is to make sure you're not offending others. Isn't that what society is? Setting aside aside some individual comforts and desires in order to make it possible for us to all live in harmony?

                                                  I can assure you that I won't be taking photos at the small, very intimate, romantic, fine dining restaurant my husband is taking me out to as my Christmas gift. Even though I haven't stepped foot on the premises yet, I already know it's not going to be camera-welcome. But, it is one of those places where I will later, wish I could remember more about my meal, But, such is life. Hopefully, they'll let me keep the menu.

                                                  And, yes, (belated) Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and happy 2010 to everyone. Can't believe the new millennium is a decade old!


                                              2. re: MMRuth

                                                To answer your question, yes I would respect a 'no pics' policy by the restaurant. Just as I would/do respect cash-only, no cellphone, shirt and tie, etc...policies. That being said, If you have a desire to eat in a photo free zone, go to a restaurant that is one. It is unfair of you to demand or expect a condition that is different than the owners of the restaurant would like. If the owners or manager do not mind people taking pictures, than it is up to you to do one of two things: deal with it, or leave. Getting angy or offended by the perfectly acceptable(to the establishment) behavior of other patrons is goofy to me.

                                              3. re: nkeane

                                                Using your logic, it's OK to wear offending perfume, lance a boil, change a soiled diaper, etc. because this justifies you becoming an offender as well. Strange logic. Where exactly are you eating?

                                                1. re: nkeane


                                                  Jfood agrees there is no "right to privacy" but there are rights to civility, consideration and being a member of a society. It is this "i will do what I want, F$ck the rest of the people" attitude that drives many people crazy, jfood included.

                                                  And your last paragraph sums it up nicely. Everyone has differing opinions of the priorites of disturbances. Jfood could not care less if people at the next table, no matter how close, take a picture of the food, or anything else (w/o flash). And the other stuff is part of the equation as well.

                                                  You can not teach good manners in a restaurant (too late and not the restaurant's or the other patrons' jobs), that has to be done at home. And if anyone feels they have a right to do whatever they want without any regard for those around them, then it is the parents who have failed.

                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Damn! You always say it better than I can think it. Right on!!!!

                                                  2. re: nkeane

                                                    This is true when one is in public. A restaurant is not a public place, per se. Which is why paparazzi photographs are taken from the street looking into the bldg. They have every right to stand on the street and photograph into the restaurant, your house, etc. but they cannot enter private property and snap away.