Discover the world’s best food photography of 2022

By Forrest Brown, CNN

The image is simply fascinating and deceptively simple: a street vendor cooking kekabs. But dwell on it for a minute. There is so much more.

While visually arresting, the image stimulates all the senses as you watch. You can smell the smoke. You can almost feel the heat from the grill. The sight of the meat cooking makes your mouth water. You can almost hear the sizzle.

Indian photographer Debdatta Chakraborty captured the photo which contest organizers describe as an “intimate image full of warmth and humanity”.

Called “Kebabiyana”, it won the overall award from Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2022, which celebrates the art of food photography and filmmaking. The winners were announced at a ceremony that streamed live on YouTube Tuesday, April 26.

Caroline Kenyon, director and founder of the awards, said on YouTube that this is the competition’s 11th year.

Learn more about the winner of Pink Lady

“Kebabiyana” was taken on Khayam Chowk, a street in Srinagar, which is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir in the far north of India.

A Pink Lady press release describes the street as “ordinary” by day, but it “turns into a bustling food court at night, as vendors light charcoal ovens and fill the air smoky aroma of grilled delicacies such as wazwan kebabs, the popular street food of Kashmir.

“It is always a source of excitement and wonder when a single image rises to the top of the awards,” Kenyon said in the press release.

“In today’s world, more than ever, we feel the need for comfort, for love,” she said. “There is so much to reassure us here – the beautifully captured puffy embrace of the smoke, the golden light, the subject’s expression as he prepares the food to share. … This image, soft yet powerful, nurtures our soul.

Why food photography is important

The contest is meant to show the profound influence of food, Phil Turnbull said in the release. He is CEO of APAL, owner of Pink Lady, the apple brand behind the photography awards.

“As Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year enters its second decade, the importance of photography and food has never been greater,” said Turnbull,

“Major world events – war, famine, the end of lockdowns, the rebirth of the hospitality industry, the opportunity to celebrate again with friends and family – all of this is recorded in the prices, which so show so vivid how food touches every aspect of our lives.The contest continues to be a truly global celebration of the art of food photography.

Pink Lady said thousands of entries had been submitted from more than 60 countries. Renowned food photographer David Loftus chaired the jury.

There were 23 categories and 38 winning images (some categories had subcategories).

An exhibition of the 2022 finalists will be presented at the Royal Photographic Society, one of the oldest photographic societies in the world, in Bristol, England. It will run from November 20 to December 12, 2022. Admission will be free, according to the statement.

Can’t make it to Bristol? You can consult the online gallery of all 2022 finalists here. See a selection of category winners in the photo gallery above.

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