The good folks at Eater have chronicled all of the different ways in which the stock photo of a woman either eating or being fed asparagus (the hands could be her own) that Newsweek put on its cover to illustrate its 101 Best Places to Eat in the World has been used by other publications, and handily illustrates the latest one:
The cover’s been called food porn, which is absolutely true. But more to the point, it’s not actually much of an illustration of the story itself. The asparagus look just fine, but they also don’t appear to be cooked, which is a little odd since the story is about restaurants. And orgasm is one of the most-used and least creative metaphors for the experience of eating really fabulous food.
It might have been hard to choose between restaurants, chefs, and dishes, and it would have been more expensive to do a shoot at one of the restaurants in the piece than to use a stock photograph. Given Newsweek’s financial woes—Barry Diller’s IAC took sole control of the company, and he has said he plans to invest less in the magazine, cost considerations might have been reasonable. But even under those circumstances, there are a lot of photos in the Getty library and others, probably even of some of the people, places and things mentioned in the cover story. Newsweek could have gone less sexy and more specific, but that might mean trying to sell a cover package on its actual merits.