Inspiring Women Photographers – A Special Edition
In 2021, Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year was honoured to introduce the Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers, in memory of Finland’s greatest women photographer.
In an exciting development for this year’s competition, the 2022 winner of The Claire Aho Award for Women Photographer will receive an exclusive trip to Finland courtesy of VisitFinland.
We spoke with VisitFinland to learn more about the importance of food and photography in the region. They shared with us why this special award is so important to them.
As we welcome this year’s entries, we wanted to share more about the award and look back at the incredible images from last year to inspire.
An Introduction - Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers
Claire Aho, 1925-2015, was born into one of Finland’s greatest cultural and artistic dynasties. Given her first camera at the age of 10, she was a trailblazer in many ways – as a woman working as a commercial photographer from the late 1940s at a time when almost no women were working in this field, in her use of colour photography and in her unique photographic blend of style, wit and vitality.
‘The first time Jussi and I spoke on the phone, we talked for almost an hour. Then he flew from Stockholm to London to discuss it further. I was thrilled when he told me the Foundation was happy for us to create the Award in his mother’s memory. I should love to have known her, but I hope and believe this is a fitting way to celebrate her life and achievements.’ – Caroline Kenyon, Director, Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year.’
The Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers is intended to both celebrate and encourage all women photographers. Women photographers around the world, of every age, and whether amateur or professional, are invited to submit images to this special Award. Entries may show food and how it touches our lives in any setting, from studio shots to reportage.
Jussi Brofeldt, Claire Aho’s son and Chairman of Aho & Soldan Photo and Film Foundation kindly shared with us his memories of Claire, and more of her inspirational photography…
Learn more about this special award, and the story behind it in our ‘Inspiring Women Photographers’ Blog.
Jussi is also a member of our distinguished judging panel for this special award. We are inviting women photographers around the world, of every age, and whether amateur or professional, to submit images to this special Award.
Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers in association with Visit Finland
Claire Aho was a trailblazer in so many ways. How has photography and food touched Finland over the years?
‘Known as the Grand old lady of Finnish Photography, Claire Aho has left a significant imprint on the Finnish photography and art world. The legacy of her photographs, exceptional outlook on life and ground-breaking career as one of the world's first professional female photographers will live on and continue to inspire future generations.
In recent years, Finland – and particularly Helsinki – have become more respected and recognised as a leading foodie destination. Foraging for food is also a long-held tradition in Finland and with its Everymans’s Rights, anyone living or visiting Finland has the freedom to roam in nature, forage and enjoy outdoor pursuits regardless of who owns or occupies an area. This also means that it’s easy for Finns to eat local and create a positive change by reducing the overall environmental footprint.’
Why is Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers award so important to Visit Finland?
‘Dedicating this award to Claire Aho is a wonderful nod to her legacy as one of the first pioneers of colour photography in Finland. It is important to Finland that Finns are recognised and celebrated for their exceptional work and we are proud that this Claire Aho Award is both celebrating and encouraging women photographers of every age to pursue photography and enter this competition. This award highlights how Claire Aho continues to have a huge impact on Finnish photography, and as one of the world’s first professional female photographers, dedicating this prestigious women’s photography award to her is an honour for Finland.’
It is the first year we have released this special prize. What can we expect from this exclusive trip to Finland?
‘The lucky winner of the Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers will receive 3 nights in a 4* hotel in Helsinki and return flights from London, for themselves and a guest. Named a UNESCO design city, Helsinki is a vibrant city full of culture, art, history, fantastic gastronomy and a uniquely Finnish way of life.
Helsinki’s proximity to nature and the sea also means that visitors can experience city life as well the Helsinki archipelago consisting of 300 mesmerising islands, 42 nature reserves and the beautiful Nuuksio National Park in neighbouring, Espoo which is in easy reach of the Finnish capital.’
Inspiring Women Photographers
Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers Finalist Photography
With this exciting new addition, we wanted to take a look back on our incredible Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers finalist images and share some inspiration for this year…
The first-ever winner of Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers in association with Aho & Soldan Photo and Film Foundation – Marina Spironetti, Italy, with her magnificent portrait, Female Butchers of Panzano - Martina, one of the women trained by Dario Cecchini, world-famous butcher of Panzano.
‘This image has so much strength, form and balance of colour as well as the beautiful directness of gaze from a young woman finding her way in what has been, for centuries, a wholly male industry. I hope and I believe that Claire Aho would have loved it.’ – Caroline Kenyon, Director.
Our incredible 2021 shortlisted and finalist work shows food and how it touches our lives in any setting, from studio shots to reportage. Be inspired by our finalist images below.
For more information on Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers, please visit: Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers - Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year