Think you can turn that pretty pavlova into a work of art? Or capture the atmosphere of a bustling food market in 2-D? If so, then the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition might just be your route for tasteful photographic recognition of the epicurean kind. Now in its second year, the contest is the first international competition celebrating the art of food photography.
More than 3,000 images from over 60 countries were entered for the 2012 iteration, the awards for which were bestowed in April. The 2013 competition has just been announced and organisers are now accepting submissions.
The competition, inspired by the proliferation of food photography in a variety of applications, from food blogging to advertising campaigns, rewards not only technical skill, but originality of treatment and what the organisers describe as a sense of connection with the subject matter. There are 13 categories, comprising Food in the Street, Food Portraiture, Food for Sale, and even An Apple a Day, which is dedicated to the pursuit of all things malic. There is also a category for shots taken on phones, Food Sn-apping, and one for under-18s.
Judges for the 2013 contest include a rarefied array of bons vivants: there's respected Italian chef and writer Antonio Carluccio, New York-based Ellen Silverman, food photographer for Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jay Rayner, British food writer and broadcaster. Alison Clarke, editor of Australia's leading food title, Cravings, Joanna Simon, wine and food editor at House & Garden, and Neil Christie, managing director of Wieden & Kennedy, the advertising agency behind an award-winning British Lurpak butter campaign, will also cast votes.
Fiona Reilly, an Australian living in China and finalist in the 2012 competition, will be entering again. Reilly runs a food blog (lifeonnanchanglu.com) about her culinary adventures in Shanghai. She describes herself as 'obsessively, compulsively in love with food'.
'No matter whether it's a mouldy hunk of cheese or a market stall groaning with a kaleidoscope of tropical fruits, I see food and I want to photograph it. My walks around Shanghai are always slow, punctuated by stops to shoot yet another really photogenic bowl of noodles or a basket full of fresh vegetables,' she says. 'I also love the stories of the people behind the food - those growing, preparing, cooking, buying, selling and eating food - and the way a photograph can capture that story.'
Reilly's photograph that made it to the 'Food in the Field' finals shows a row of sheep - seen from behind. She took the photograph last year during a trip to Kashgar.
'I had dreamed of visiting Kashgar for years, and high on my list of must-see places was the Sunday animal market just outside the city. In an open field, the local Uygur and Tajik men buy and sell goats, donkeys and cattle, and incredible fat-tailed sheep, which are prized for the delicious fat found in their plump tails. It's an extraordinary sight,' she says.
It was a friend who came across the competition, sent her a link and prompted her to enter. But this year she needs no such prompting.
'Last year's competition was a great experience from start to finish,' she says. 'I took the plunge and travelled to London for the finals, and seeing your work alongside wonderful food photography from all over the world is so very inspiring. I had to keep pinching myself.'