Finger Lakes’ Photo Folly

The editorial content of the Summer 2008 Edible Finger Lakes magazine is interesting, varied, and well written. If magazines could talk there would be plenty of content to catch the ear, which would compensate for the lack of material to catch the eye.

 A quick study of the masthead shows that the magazine has a limited staff, but that it does use freelance photographers. Although EFL is clearly on a small budget, more effort in the planning and selection of photos would produce much better results with its available resources.

I’m looking back at the summer issue because, of EFL’s three issues since its spring 2008 launch, this was the strongest example of poorly planned photos.

The main photograph of the first feature in the issue, about free-range bees, is nothing more than stacks of colored boxes in a field. There is not a beekeeper or bee in sight. Boxes in a field certainly don’t scream, “Read me!”

An article on the history of farmer’s markets has a main photo, accompanied by two more small photos on the following pages. All three photos contain only green vegetables. By using these redundant photos, EFL missed the opportunity to show the wide variety of farmer’s market foods and colors that were described in the article.

One article features the fried green tomato creations at a Finger Lakes café, complete with recipes. The article includes photos from the café, but no shots of the menu items described. Recipe photos would give a reader the added drool factor that could lead him or her to make the dish at home or visit the café.

The last feature article, on a local ice cream shop, has quaint photos of a teenage girl working behind the counter, and a young girl eating an ice cream cone. Yet these promising photos also fall short because they lack captions telling who the girls are. Many readers who subscribe to local magazines to learn about the people in their communities and put names to faces will be disappointed by EFL’s tendency to publish photos of unnamed subjects.

This issue of Edible Finger Lakes fails to take advantage of the many mouth-watering image opportunities a food magazine can yield, which is a shame, because the stories are good enough to please any Upstate New York foodie or locavore.

— Kristin Quinn           



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