One thing that unites us all is food. It’s a key element not only to survival but to tradition, celebration, and community. This year’s winners of the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year awards showcase the customs and stories woven into how we cook, eat, and play with our food.
About the contest
Inaugurated in 2011, the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year awards acknowledge excellence in food photography and film. From submissions that recall the glossy pages of cookbooks and magazines to documentary-style shots of festivals, harvests, and street vendors, the winners take you on a journey around the world as you experience food through the eyes of the people who create and share it.
Since its inception, the contest has received over 80,000 submissions from 96 countries. The Royal Photographic Society displays the winners’ work in a public exhibition in Bristol from November to December. Prizes vary by category and range from cash awards to gear giveaways and gift certificates. Each category winner also receives a trophy.
Below are our favorites of the 27 category-winning works. You can see all the winners and finalists here.
Bring Home the Harvest
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Taken in Fujian Province, China photographer Chang Jiangbin offers a peek into the world of noodles, a regional favorite. The way the photograph is framed by the cooling strands gives it a clandestine feeling as the viewer peers in.
Food for Celebration
The repeated use of the color red adds a vibrancy to the task at hand: Dumpling folding.
“A family gathers around to make rice or mung bean-filled dumplings. They use a wooden seal to stamp the word ‘fortune’ or ‘happiness’ into the red dough, and steam the dumplings in a large steamer,” says winner Chen Ying. “This tradition means that the New Year will be welcomed with reunion and the coming year will be prosperous.”
Wedding Food Photographer
The range of emotions and the expert framing of the cake make for a compelling (and potentially humorous) story, as shot by Isabelle Hattink of the Netherlands.
Award for Women Photographers
“Celebrating African heritage, fused with a touch of inspiration from French Post-Impressionist artist, Henri Matisse,” is how winner Marguerite Oelofse describes her work. “The painter-like aesthetic in my photography creates a three-dimensional feeling by using bold colors, form, and textures. These elements are native to our diverse South African culture.”
Wine Photographer of the Year—People
Jon Wyand, representing the United Kingdom, captures a worker at the break of day in a Burgundian vineyard, gathering clippings against a striking, sun-soaked landscape.
Wine Photographer of the Year—Places
There’s a lot going on in this photo: Leading lines take the eye to the still-desolate vineyard—likely captured in the winter or early spring—and the human shadow adds an element of mystery and liveliness to the scene.
Wine Photographer of the Year—Produce
To inhibit the start of fermentation, freshly-picked grapes are packed with dry ice which swirls around and creates an otherworldly effect as the fruit tumbles into a tank. Suzanne Becker Bronk, representing the United States, captured this one at Caldwell Vineyard in Napa, California.
Food for the Family
“During the Spring Festival, the Tujia people in western Hunan will make tuansa, a special local delicacy which is made of glutinous rice and tastes light and sweet,” says winner Weining Lin. “Most local people take tuansa as a gift or an offering.”
Food in the Field
Paolo Crocetta, from Italy, took this abstract shot on a snowy day.
“After a heavy snowfall I raised the drone to take some photos of my country covered by the whiteness of the white coat; after a few minutes of flight, I noticed the particular shapes that the apple plots created in contrast with the snow on the ground,” Crocetta shares.
Food Stylist Award
Carolin Strothe’s series of five photographs took the top prize in the styling category. From deceptive brioche pumpkins to Proust-inspired madeleines and a summery vegetable tart resembling a painting, the collection is truly a feast for the eyes.
Fujifilm Award for Innovation
Closer inspection reveals that this is not actually Central Park, but rather a clever recreation with broccoli and box graters. “The image is part of my ongoing project called ‘Foodtopia,’ a miniature world created with food items,” shares winner Yuliy Vasilev.
Marks & Spencer Food Portraiture
This photograph just screams joy with the multitude of fruits in every color. It’s like melon Tetris.
MPB Food Influencer
Photographer Elisa De Cecchi adds character, perspective, and story to Italy’s beloved dish, capturing a gloomy day made a bit more comforting by the prospect of a warm bowl of pasta.
“Draining pasta by the window sink on a gloomy day, moisture fills the air, condensation forms on the windows and droplets slide down the glass,” De Cecchi says. “It is an activity that seems quite mundane, but I find it evocative.”
On the Phone
At once both fun and shocking, Kasia Ciesielska-Faber captures the spirit of the region by framing a cluster of bright red buildings with drying fish, their mouths agape.
“In the Lofoten archipelago, stockfish racks have become part of the landscape,” Ciesielska-Faber notes. “The cod is preserved by drying on large racks with no salt or smoke required as the temperatures are just below freezing. The climate is perfect for outdoor stockfish production.”
One Vision Imaging Cream of the Crop
Forget about The Beatles and their endless strawberry fields. With this winning image, Paolo Grinza and Silvia Vaulà invite you to hang out in the carrot field.
Of all the winning images, it’s this smokey street scene, snapped by Debdatta Chakraborty in Sri Nagar, India, that has us the most hungry. You can almost smell those perfectly charred kebabs.
How to enter next year
Stay up to date with contest happenings here. The deadline to enter 2023’s contest is February 6. For participants aged 18 and over, the entry fee is 30 GBP ($37.50) to submit five photos or one film. Every additional image is 6 GBP ($7.50). Those under 18 may submit up to five images for free.