How to Eat Instagram

Scarr's Pizza April 25, 2019

In case you are wondering how these things happen on Instagram. You DM me: “Are you around Thursday after 4:30?” I respond: “OK.” You ask: “Scarr’s Pizza? There is also another Taiwanese Pork Chop place not far I’ve wanted to try.” I say: “OK.” You then share a link to Google Maps for the pork chop place. I say: “Oh yeah, I’ve been there. Is that Taiwanese? They are good. I’ve only had one thing.” You respond: “It says Chinese but I’ve always seen it listed as a Taiwanese dish.”

Then comes Thursday, and you DM me again: “Still good for today at 5?” I say: “Yes.” Coming down to the wire, you say: “Waiting for F train. On my way.” I say: “OK.” We then share each other’s location on our iPhones in real time so we can see each other on the map. This is important.

You follow the Instagram version of Dogme 95, the filmmaking principles of Lars von Trier, so, if you get there before me, you figure out the lighting situation. (As you are not allowed to use any artificial lights.) It turns out that the pizzeria is too dark inside, so you scout for a better location nearby. Bingo. You find a storefront perfectly recessed to create the defused light you want. We get the pizza and carefully transport it to the location. We take turns to shoot. We need an establishing shot, a group shot, a full-length shot, a close-up, a bottom shot, overhead shot, a folded shot, and a storefront shot. You need to nail them before the pizza gets cold.

We then put our phones away and eat like ordinary people, because our mission is already accomplished. We might analyze the taste of it but not so deeply because we are not food critics. We just like collecting pictures of food, like nerdy kids collecting Pokemons.

We then start walking to another destination. On the way, we snobbishly make fun of Instagrammers who carry huge-ass cameras with gigantic zoom lenses. What’s the point? iPhones take just as good pictures. Our Insta-Dogme principles (“smartphone cameras only”) make us feel superior.

Once we reach the second location, we repeat the whole cycle. Now you know how this works.