Foods are more just what’s served on a plate. There is a whole cultural, environmental, economic, scientific, and political complex web behind the production and the consumption. Knowing how widely different all these notions are, varying from one society to another, just as depicted in these photos, would it be possible to find a standardized concept of what’s good for human health?
Below is a series of some of the photographs and the comments by a food critic and chairman of the judges Jay Rayner, featured in the 2016 Food Photographer Contest. Most of the photos made their takers win in their respective categories. The first criterion is that the photograph has to be of food. However to have a good score, photographers must have an analytical eye, picking upon ironies behind the production of food.
The Grand Kitchen – by Shoeb Faruqee (Bangladesh)
Winner of the Champagne Taittinger Food for Celebration category
“A very narrow landscape in a smoky room, showing a major cooking operation for a lot of people,” says Rayner. “There are huge cauldrons, and there’s a very deep umber brown, painterly quality to this. And that divided the judges: some thought it a bit too murky.”
“But one of the acute details, in the right-hand corner, a chap with only one arm cooking over a brazier. He’s there, and that’s what he does. It’s a terrific photograph.”
Appreciate every piece – by Marcin Jucha (UK)
Winner of the Politics of Food category
“There are three guys preparing meat in Cuba – one is holding a pig’s head. It’s a grimy, grimy room – and they are doing it to the very end of the animal,” explains Rayner. “They are overseen by an image of Jesus on the wall. The bottles on the table have the quality of an altar, with the light casting a shadow. It’s an unattractive space, from which has emerged a quite extraordinarily beautiful photograph. “I think it’s very much a statement – in a time of poverty, you take every bit of the food you can.”
Chicken Cheese toastie – by Jean Cazals (UK)
Winner of the Marks and Spencer Food Portraiture category
“This does look like a classic piece of advertising photography,” explains Rayner. “It’s beautifully, beautifully done. The cheese is oozing, it’s glossy. “It’s hilarious in its outrageousness. It’s voluptuous. It’s like some sexy model of the food world.”
Treasure of the Sea – by Olimpia Davies
Winner of the Food Bloggers category
“We talked about this one an awful lot,” says Rayner of this next image – which also includes an octopus. “We have some tentacles, and then a big tangle of squid ink pasta.
“Really I don’t know whether you would want to eat this, or wear it as a hat. It’s a very striking image, but it starts to take you away from food. You could put it on your wall and enjoy it a lot. I am not sure, though, that you would actually want to eat it.