Stunning images from the Food Photographer of the Year 2021 competition




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Taken by young photographer Dewi Hollema, this dynamic shot of a bustling street in Alexandria is filled with life. It features a group of men gathering around a table to gossip and share Egyptian sweet tea – to spill the tea, in every sense of the phrase. The image, capturing a candid moment of connection over the ritual of enjoying Egypt’s national drink, won Hollema the prize for the 15-17 age category.




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There are perhaps few simpler gastronomic pleasures than a steaming bowl of mussels. Brought to life by young photographer Evie Grimshaw, who won the under-10s award, the sumptuous seafood delights certainly look good enough to eat in this close-up photograph.




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Food photography isn’t just about making things look delicious. As this thought-provoking image by Md Mahabub Hossain Khan goes to show, it can also be an important tool for posing questions about issues of waste, scarcity and inequality in the food cycle. The shot of a young child sitting atop a mountain of plastic bottles won Khan the World Food Programme (WFP) Food for Life category.




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While it might initially draw us in for sheer cuteness, Ziney Abdulhakim Ibrahim’s image carries a crucial message. Capturing a family sitting down to share a meal in Iraq, it highlights the importance of eating together, showing how this daily ritual is a space for discussion, exchanging ideas and problem solving. The photograph was crowned winner of the WFP Storytellers Award.




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The late-night glow of Taipei’s Wanhua District Night Market only adds to the drama of this action shot. Depicting a butcher carving up a pig’s head, his arms visibly reddened by the work, the photograph was taken by David Thompson and won him the Philip Harben Award for Food in Action.




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You can see the pride on the face of this butcher, captured in her element by Marina Spironetti, winner of The Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers. Along with a group of women from all over the world, she’s being trained in the art of deboning by the legendary Dario Cecchini, a world-renowned Italian butcher based in Panzano, Tuscany.




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This richly-textured still life makes ordinary, uncooked beetroot look almost decadent, amplifying the array of purple-red tones in its juicy core. The photograph saw Sarah Blandford crowned winner of Student Photographer of the Year – according to her Instagram page, the beetroot in question was home-grown in her sister’s garden.




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Food photographer mxprivé creates dark, dramatic shots, so blackberries were the perfect match for his moody backdrops. Crowning him as winner of the Spayne Lindsay On the Phone award, his work aims to make color and texture the focal point when the ability to taste is absent.




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Winning Italian photojournalist Sandro Maddalena the award for the Politics of Food category, this image of four friends sharing a meal was taken in Tskaltubo, Georgia. The men depicted are refugees from the Abkhaz-Georgia conflict (1992-1993), gathering in the basement of an abandoned Soviet-era sanatorium. Many Abkhazian refugees are still living in abandoned buildings in poverty, almost three decades after the war ended.




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Crowning her winner in – you guessed it – the Pink Lady® Apple a Day category, this stunning shot was taken by Polish photographer Natalia Bogubowicz. Featuring an apple pie that looks fresh out of the oven, we can almost smell the cinnamon, sugar and baked-apple aromas just looking at it.




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Captured against a dark backdrop, this image of a tawny-hued chicken came top in the One Vision Imaging Cream of the Crop category. For photographer Emma Sheldrake, it depicts “the beauty of home egg collection and the wonderful birds that are part of the process that we love as part of the family”.




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This action shot of spiced wine syrup being poured over hot poached pears is enough to tantalize anyone with a sweet tooth. Or without, for that matter. The glossy, dimly-lit photograph was taken by Perth-based food photographer Harriet Harcourt, who took home the Marks & Spencer Food Portraiture award.




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Gazing at this striking image is almost like looking at an optical illusion. The cleverly-angled shot, snapped by Bangladeshi photographer Abdul Momin, makes the worker seem as if he’s walking through a golden field. In actual fact, he’s inspecting rice noodles to see if they have dried properly. Momin was the winner in the Fujifilm Award for Innovation category.




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Styled by Martin Grünewald and photographed by Frank Weinert, this still life puts fresh produce at the heart of the image. And what wonderful ingredients they are. Distinctive, velvety-textured cobia is offset by gorgeous striped eggplants, sprigs of thyme and lemons fresh from the tree. We can only imagine the delicious dishes that could be conjured up from this spread.




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Five of the duo’s beautiful images won in the Food Stylist Award, another of which is this tantalizing seafood photograph. Drawing attention to the myriad colors and textures of seafood – including lobster, octopus and mussels – the still life conjures up ideas of cooking and eating alfresco in summer.




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In this still life, an assortment of Italian cured meats or salumi (plural of salami) are stacked high. The series of images were created for FricheParadies, an online grocery store selling high-quality and gourmet ingredients.




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Getting your five-a-day would be a delight with produce like this at your fingertips. Another shot created by Grünewald and Weinert, the combination of jewel-like pomegranate seeds, curling radicchio leaves and waxy lemons with fresh herbs and spices makes for a delectable-looking spread.




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Food photographer and influencer Deborah Trocchia captured the essence of fall in this minimal shot. A glorious pumpkin – the “queen of the month” as she describes it – takes center stage, illuminated by a shaft of golden light, lending the image an almost sepia tone. The image saw Trocchia crowned the winner of the Food Influencers category.




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It’s hard to think of a more atmospheric backdrop for a farm than this. Shrouded by valley mists and standing in the shadow of a crumbling castle, a farmer on horseback watches over his rare-breed, longhorn cattle. The shot was captured by Harry Williams, winning him the Food in the Field Award.




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Captured by Thong Nguyen, who won the Food for the Family category, this photograph depicts people enjoying the typical Vietnamese noodle soup for breakfast at a weekly market. We can almost smell the meaty, spicy aromas rising off the pho, its steam illuminated in the early-morning light.




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As ongoing coronavirus restrictions have forced many people indoors during the past year, celebrations, events and other aspects of normal life have been downsized. Yet as Chinese photographer Li Huaifeng shows, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Depicting two young girls blowing out candles at an intimate birthday celebration, her image won the Food for Celebration category.




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A cooperage – where wine barrels are made – is the subject of this captivating image, shot by Lana Svitankova. Winning her the “Place” award within the Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year category, the facility in Porto, Portugal is one of a lessening number. Many wineries are opting for plastic containers instead of wooden barrels, meaning the trade is dwindling. With its artfully-molded planks of wood, the image is an homage to the traditional craft.




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Tradition also takes center stage in this joyful photograph, depicting a worker stomping on grapes at Hoddles Creek Estate Winery in the Upper Yarra Valley. The trade is known as “pigeage” and the ability to get one’s hands (or indeed feet) dirty is a prerequisite. Captured by Australian photographer Victor Pugatschew, it won the “People” award in the Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year category.




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In this golden-hour shot, freshly harvested Semillon grapes come to resemble twinkling gemstones as they’re poured into a tractor. Captured by Oscar Oliveras at Château des Ganfards in Saussignac, France, where he was working as a winemaker at the time, the photograph was the overall winner in the Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year category.




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Winning him the Champagne Taittinger Wedding Food Photographer award, John Armstrong-Millar captured an offbeat moment as the newlyweds cut their cake. Speaking of the photograph, Armstrong-Millar said: “Normally weddings run to plan but it’s really fun to capture the moments where things go a little off script”.




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Multi award-winning Turkish photographer F. Dilek Uyar created this stunning image of two women drying okra flowers in Tokat, Turkey. To harvest okra, the flowers are picked and arranged on a rope, and then when they’ve dried they fall off the rope and the okra is ready to be used. The shot came first in the Bring Home the Harvest category.




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Bagging the overall prize was Chinese photographer Li Huaifeng, who also won the Food for Celebration category with “Happy Birthday”. In this charming snapshot of family life, a mother and daughter prepare dumplings together in Licheng, Shanxi, bathed in sunlight streaming in through the window. Competition judges praised the “depth of its storytelling and emotion”, while also commending it as “technically outstanding in its use of light and composition”.




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