Food may be a huge part of our lives, but when was the last time you concentrated your photography on it? Judging by the winners of this year’s Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition, if it’s been a while, you could be missing out. The top-ranked images show a stupendous mix of lifestyle, documentary, still-life and portrait photography showcasing the way that food culture touches all our lives.
The competition, now in its tenth year, celebrates the art of food photography and filmmaking from all around the world. This time out, it gathered 10,500 entries from over 70 countries, and shows no sign of being past its sell by date, with a host of great winners and runners up in this year’s cream of the crop. This year’s competition was divided into 30 categories with 29 for stills alongside a single filmmaking section.
Below you’ll find some of this year’s winners, but be warned, they may make you hungry!
The overall prize of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2021 went to Chinese photographer, Li Huaifeng. The photograph, called ‘Taste,’ was taken in Licheng, Shanxi, on a warm and sunny day, shows a young family sharing in the joy of preparing food. Li’s image was placed first in the Food for the Family category, and selected from all the winners to be top spot. Li was placed in several categories, also winning the Food for Celebration section with a shot called ‘Happy Birthday’.
The importance of food production was clearly shown this year, with the Bring Home the Harvest, section won by F. Dilek Uyar of Turkey, with a picture of women drying okra flowers. The Food in the Field category saw a winning image from Harry Williams of the UK, showing a farmer on horseback tending his rare breed longhorn cattle in the shadow of a dramatic castle. The Fujifilm Award for Innovation went to a picture from Abdul Momin of Bangladesh, showing a worker inspecting rice noodles as they dry.
Making food look its best, the Food Stylist Award went to a series of shots from stylist Martin Grünewald of Germany, working with photographer Frank Weinert, to create a series of still-lifes. The Food Portraiture prize was handed to Harriet Harcourt of Australia whose picture shows the pouring of spiced wine syrup over poached pears before serving.
Winning images also stressed the importance of a street and documentary approach in food photography. In the Politics of Food section, Sandro Maddalena of Italy depicted refugees from the Abkhazian/Georgian conflict gathering in the basement of an abandoned sanatorium to share their food. The Street Food round was won by Viet Van Tran of Vietnam, showing young girls eating sweep soup at a UNESCO world heritage site in Hoi An old town. Finally, the World Food Programme’s Food for Life round was won by Md Mahabub Hossain Khan of Bangladesh and their harrowing picture of a child, drinking from a discarded bottle and surrounded by plastic waste.
With the Food Film Shorts round dedicated to brief movies centred around food culture and production, the winning entry went to a short called ‘Parallel Lines’ by Gareth Evans from the UK, skillfully drawing a parallel between a new local bakery being built and the bread making process.
Finally, as overall sponsors of the competition, Pink Lady® has its own Apple a Day category, featuring apples. This was won by Natalia Bogubowicz of Poland, with a flat lay style image, called ‘Apple in Cake.’
If you’re in the UK, you’ll hopefully be able to check out the 2021 finalists in the flesh, as they’re being exhibited at The Royal Photographic Society in Bristol from 20 November to 12 December 2021. For more info on this year’s competition, including all this year’s winners, previous finalists, and of course the chance to enter next year’s contest, head to www.pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com