Fast Food Photoshop

What you see below is an actual ad for a Burger Chef hamburger (Mad Men fans, Burger Chef is a real company!). I think this is excellent; what you see is what you get. I’m pretty damn sure this is an accurate representation of the item. They didn’t even bother to strategically place the onions in a relatively even distribution. The burger is smaller than the bun. A lone pickle slice graces the nucleus of the burger structure.

Over 50 years later, fast food recipes have not changed all that much (save for much larger portions). But we DO have one secret ingredient that makes a monumental difference: PHOTOSHOP.

Enter the Burger King Whopper. Look at that flame broiled, juicy patty extending past the bun, residing under a veritable tower of fresh, shiny, crunchy produce. The edge of the tomato slice even has perfect little water droplets on it (has anyone EVER seen that in real life?)!

I find it fascinating that even FOOD is subject to the unrealistic ideals increasingly created/perpetuated by the media. It’s startling to view pictures of what was considered “attractive” just half a century ago, human or otherwise. There is an ever-widening rift between what actual humans and products look like and the fabricated hyperrealistic “paintings” that have taken the place of photographs (I was going to post some human examples, but you get the idea!).


16 Responses to “Fast Food Photoshop”

  1. Ooooh, gimme the delicious Photoshopped version every time! (Like Fox Mulder, I WANT to believe…).

    Sorry Dana, I know that was kinda facetious – I’m feeling a little skittish tonight 🙂 – but you make so many important points I really don’t know where to begin: Have our tastes changed so drastically over the years? Or is it our perception? Or do our expectations just get subsumed by the need to ‘fit in’ and accept whatever’s on offer? Were we more divorced from real food when we thought the first pic was desirable (even edible?) or now, when we happily consume anything that’s served up, even when it looks nothing like the unattainable perfection we’ve been sold – and led to believe we should demand?

    Yet another fascinating post, which has left me questioning so much of what I take for granted – but I’m sort of relieved you didn’t include those human examples… 🙂 -Nx

    • shewalkssoftly Says:

      Maybe I’m horribly cynical, but I think it’s capitalism. Multimedia advertising changed the world. I feel the industry increasingly pushes toward these hyperreal images to create market demand. The human mind is very impressionable…and unfortunately listens all too well to the hints of advertising. But you’re right…there are SO many interesting questions here!

  2. Remember wanting that Burger King cardboard crown? I still do! Burger Chef closed in 1996 and was taken over by Hardees. Even for back then, there’s no excuse for such a pitiful burger image though. I couldn’t make a hamburger that grossly unappealing even if I was drunk and blindfolded.
    The food industry still uses fake non-perishable food a lot before using Photoshop to apply their “yummy magic” marketing campaign. This way they can take a gazillion photos, because a few actual shots of real food would be too realistic. Yep, sadly the world and the internet is becoming faker and more deceiving by the minute. And when somebody used to go out of their way to touch-up their photos (you know who you are!), technology now offers instant quick “perfection” fix-ups. So I guess the bimbo/gigolo ratio is going to skyrocket. I know I’ve been taking liberties to pop vids on your blog, D, but I couldn’t help adding this Burger Chef video. 😀

    • shewalkssoftly Says:

      The didn’t have any “fake” left for the food…they used it all on that family in the commercial.

  3. bettiemuldoon Says:

    I know a man who makes larger than life candy bars expressly for photo and commercial adverts. The Three Musketeers bar seen at 24 seconds here is actually over a foot long, each part. He recreates the edible in plastics and cotton, so that the lights and long shooting hours, plus the resolution onscreen, all work harmoniously.

    • shewalkssoftly Says:

      Oh, interesting! I would have won that chocolate grabbing contest in the commercial, naturally.

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