Thanks to Instagram and other social media platforms, food photography is probably bigger now than ever before. Yes, the food world will always have a place for professional food photogs (journalists want to travel with a plus one!) but thanks to high-quality smartphone cameras and easy-to-use photo apps, the opportunity to take great food photos is in more people’s fingertips than ever before.
Since 2011, the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year awards have been giving all these visual artists a chance at global recognition (and a prize pool of over $25,000), encouraging entries from everyone, “professional and amateur, old and young.” For this year’s competition, over 8,000 images were submitted from 60 countries, a group that was narrowed down to just 25 winners across a variety of categories—including one grand prize.
Taking that top crown this year was Bangladeshi photographer Noor Ahmed Gelal with a shot entitled, “Praying with Food,” a dazzling mix of symmetry and colors that captures the breaking of a day-long fast at a Hindu temple in Dhaka. For his efforts, Gelal not only walked with the official title of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year, but also the £5,000 (about $7,000) prize that came with it.
“The competition was fierce,” Andy Macdonald, the head of Pink Lady in the U.K., said. “Noor’s shot stood out from the rest in its category, however, for the way in which he made the subject matter so fascinating and distinctive.”
Other winning entries selected by a judging panel that was chaired by internationally-renowned food photographer David Loftus included subject matters as diverse as a quiet moment in the kitchen, drying pasta, and a horizon of ostriches.
Food & Wine digital photo editor Abby Hocking has helped in the selection process for a few years now and described the kind of things she has her eye on, including this year’s wine photo submissions. “When looking at the entries, I’m most drawn to striking photos that tell a story,” she explained. “Winemaking is so rich in history and tradition, yet the submissions can be so abstract and modern. It’s amazing to see immense variety within the wine category.”
View the entire collection of winners and other photos on Pink Lady’s website.