Winner Li Huaifeng. Images open in a a lightbox.

A tender and subtly powerful image for our times, Taste, by Chinese photographer Li Huaifeng, has won the overall prize of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2021, the world’s leading celebration of the art of food photography and film.

The photograph, taken in Licheng, Shanxi, on a warm and sunny day, shows a young family sharing in the joy of preparing food.

“This picture is technically outstanding in its use of light and composition, but what raises it to the level of historic importance is the depth of its storytelling and emotion. It tells of a year of isolation and living indoors, living in tiny communities of immediate family. Here, the scene is bathed with love, with echoes of Madonna and child. An exceptional shot which perfectly demonstrates that photography need not shock or disturb to be great or memorable. This exquisite image lingers in the mind,” says Caroline Kenyon, Director/Founder of the Awards.

The restrictions of the pandemic did not defeat the celebrations. The winners were announced by Fred Sirieix, in an exciting Awards ceremony that was live streamed on the competition’s YouTube channel on Tuesday 27 April 2021. It was watched by an audience across the globe, including celebrities from the food and photography world.

“2021 marks a very special year for Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year. On the competition’s tenth anniversary, it is wonderful that a record number of entries were received,” says Phil Turnbull, CEO of APAL, owner of Pink Lady®, and headline sponsor of the Awards since 2011. “Almost 10,500 entries were submitted from over 70 countries around the world. As the reach of the competition grows further, it continues to be a truly global inspiration and celebration of the art of food photography.”

A very special category has been introduced this year in memory of Claire Aho, Finland’s greatest woman photographer – The Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers. The inaugural winner of the Award is Marina Spironetti with her magnificent portrait Female Butchers of Panzano – Martina, one of the women trained by Dario Cecchini, world-famous butcher of Panzano.

In addition to announcing the winners, the highly-prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award was also presented to the World Food Programme. “Their use of photography to explain their work in places of danger and deprivation around the world is extraordinary. The pandemic has exponentially increased the global need for their support, described as a ‘famine of biblical proportions’. We have been honoured to be partnered by the World Food Programme for several years, and it is wonderful that Rein Skullerud, Head of their Photo Unit, a heroic photographer in his own right, accepts the Award on behalf of WFP.”

This year’s global judging panel, chaired by legendary food photographer, David Loftus, includes Fiona Shields, Head of Photography, Guardian News & Media, Susan Bright, Writer and Curator, Nik Sharma, Cookbook Author and Photographer, Chef Simone Zanoni, Restaurant Le George, Four Seasons Paris, Alison Jacques, Founder, Alison Jacques Gallery and Vitalie Taittinger, President, Champagne Taittinger.

In an exciting first for the competition, the exhibition of the 2021 Finalists will be premiering at The Royal Photographic Society, one of the world’s oldest photographic societies, in Bristol. The exhibition will run from 20 November – 12 December 2021. Entry is free.

Some images are shown below (click to open in a lightbox) but to to view the online gallery of all the 2021 finalists, please visit

All images open in a lightbox.

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