How to be ‘innovative’ in photography
One of the many joys of our Awards is the endless creativity we see in the images, year after year. Just when you think you can’t be surprised, a shot comes into view which delights, makes you laugh, astonishes or even disturbs in a completely novel way.
It might be the subject matter, or the composition, or the styling, or the setting. But with entries coming from almost 100 countries over the years, perhaps it’s not unexpected that we are treated to so many different interpretations.
One image that really grabbed public attention was Anatomy of a Feeling by Jonathan Thevenet. Highly Commended in the popular MBP Food for Innovation category in 2023. The attention translated into an incredible 1.1 million views on Instagram as people responded to its wit, its stylishness and originality of theme. Fresh, fun and serious all at once, it certainly hit the Innovation button.
We spoke to judge Mick Watson, Head of Global Content Marketing at MPB and some of our previous finalists of the MPB Award for Innovation about what innovation in photography means to them.
'Anatomy of a Feeling' by Jonathan Thevenet, Highly Commended, 2023
What do you think it means to be ‘innovative’ in photography?
With so many images in the world this becomes increasingly tricky. But I think, for me, it’s about making new connections between things or showing the audience subjects and situations in a fresh light.
Why do you think Jonathan Thevenet’s 'Anatomy of a Feeling' photo went viral?
I think the cabbage heart was successful as it immediately connects multiple subjects in a new and visually arresting way. It’s immediate, with added depth. Visually, we’re not accustomed to seeing a heart depicted in the colour green, it’s clever use of vegetables is interesting and accurate and the message is both personal - we know that a healthy diet, full of plants is good for us - and universal - we know that plant life is key to the survival of our planet: it’s beating heart.
Red by André Boto, Highly Commended, 2023
What does “innovation” in food photography mean to you, André?
Sometimes it seems like there is nothing more to create in food photography, and in photography in general, and in food photography the same approaches are taken many times. I'm especially attracted to this category, because as a photographer I try to find ways to give a special touch in my work, mainly in my personal work.
So, I think it's really cool to explore different ways to represent food, trying to surprise the viewers. Maybe during these days, in a time where everyone is a photographer, doing something different is the way to exceed and put your work on the radar.
How has entering Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year helped you, André?
When we talk about photography competitions about food, Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year is on top. Just by seeing all the images on the final stages is something inspirational.
Seeing one of my images as a finalist is special. I'm a commercial photographer, but food is not something I photograph everyday. So it's rewarding to have a finalist image in this prestigious competition and it gives me motivation to continue creating different things.
Central Park by Yuliy Vasilev, Winner, 2021
What does “innovation” in food photography mean to you, Yuliy?
Innovation and creativity are perhaps the words that best describe my style of photography. I always strive to create images and compositions that are so different that nobody even thought of creating them before. If you want to be successful not only in photography but in everything that you do, you should be different and innovative.
How has entering Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year helped you, Yuliy?
Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year is without a doubt the Oscars of food photography and is the ultimate benchmark for culinary photographers. I have won almost every food or advertising-related contest out there in the world, but winning the Innovation category at the FPOTY is something really special to me, and I dream that one day I will be the Overall Winner.
Super(size) man by David Gulliver, Shortlisted, 2023
What does “innovation” in food photography mean to you, David?
The main thing for me is trying to approach things just that little bit differently. My style of photography is pretty niche (I specialize in photographing tiny figurines!) and so I felt like this rather peculiar approach would lend itself well to this category of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the year competition.
How has entering Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year helped you, David?
The competition has gained me new followers from near and far which is lovely to see. It is also inspiring to see the fantastic range of work that other photographers have been making and entering into the various other categories. It is always so important (and such a pleasure) to see what your peers have been up to, and it fills me with such pride when some of my work gets shortlisted alongside these other talented individuals.
Still Life by Elisa, Winner, 2023
What does “innovation” in food photography mean to you, Elisa?
To me "innovation" in food photography means adding more than a touch of myself in the pictures I take. It means trying to find the essence of food through a personal point of view.
How has entering Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year helped you, Elisa?
Entering Pink Lady ® Food Photographer of the Year helped me to broaden my photographic world and reach a wider audience. The level of the contest is so high that winning one of the sections is becoming an excellent calling card for the future.
Sardines Party by Yessica Duque, Highly Commended, 2021
What does “innovation” in food photography mean to you, Yessica?
In food photography, innovation embodies the art of pushing the boundaries of creativity and storytelling. It involves capturing not only the visual aesthetics of a dish but also the emotions, narratives, and cultural significance it embodies. Innovating in this field entails experimenting with diverse elements such as lighting, composition, and post-processing techniques to create distinctive and thought-provoking images that deeply engage and resonate with viewers. It's about continuously exploring fresh perspectives and styles while maintaining authenticity to the subject. Moreover, true innovation in food photography is the ability to manifest a vision that might be difficult to articulate in words but is brought to life through the lens. Beyond personal achievement, it encompasses the capacity to inspire and motivate others within the profession, encouraging them to explore their creative boundaries and evolve their craft.
How has entering Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year helped you, Yessica?
Entering Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year has been a pivotal moment in my photography journey. It provided me with a platform to showcase my work on a global stage and connect with a passionate community of food photographers and enthusiasts. This exposure not only boosted my confidence, but also opened doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and networking. Moreover, the valuable feedback and recognition I received from this prestigious competition have been instrumental in motivating me to further refine my craft and continue pursuing my passion for food photography. It's an experience that has genuinely enriched my growth as a photographer.
Want more information and inspiration on innovation? Visit the MPB Award for Innovation category page.
Looking for another type of food photography? Check out the other categories in the Awards
- How to stand out in the shortlist by Caroline Kenyon January 4, 2024
- Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year changed my life January 2, 2024
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