Judge’s Top Picks – Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers
Introduction by Caroline Kenyon, Founder and Director of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year
When I am asked which is my favourite category, I always reply that it’s like being asked to name your favourite child. The Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers is, however, very close to my heart. It has brought us into contact with many amazing photographers round the world and also a much-valued friendship with Jussi Brofeldt, Chair of the Aho & Soldan Foundation and Claire’s only son.
After we came up with the idea for the Award to celebrate Claire’s remarkable, intensely-lived life as a trailblazing photographer, Angela Nicholson immediately sprang to mind as a judge. Angela founded the She Clicks online community for women photographers - over 5000 of them to date - and does so much to support this community.
To mark Claire’s birthday (she would have been 99 today) we invited Angela to choose some of her favourite images in the Award over the last three years. Do enjoy her pick!
By Angela Nicholson
Narrowing down my top 5 images from the first three years' shortlists for the Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers has been a challenging but enlightening task. There are many more images that I would have liked to have included, but after much consideration, I've fine-tuned my selection.
1st, 2021 - Female butchers of Panzano - Martina Spironetti, Italy
This is such a powerful portrait. The subject, Martina, is confidently returning the gaze of the camera and her pose appears natural as if she's stopped in the midst of her job. She's also framed effectively by the meat, and some of it matches the colour of her lipstick and top, which pulls everything together very nicely.
Highly Commended, 2021 - Corn Flour - F.Dilek Uyar, Turkey
Travel and food photography often go hand-in-hand, and this image of a Turkish woman grinding dried corn is a great example of that. The woman is bathed in light from the window on the right of the scene, bringing out the red of her clothes that contrast nicely with the dark wood behind her and the golden corn on either side. F.Dilek Uyar has selected the shutter speed wisely as the woman's head and body are frozen while her hand is blurred to tell us she's in the act of grinding.
3rd, 2023 - Roberta Inside Her Little Bakery - Michela Balboni, Italy
This image was shot in a bakery that is one of the oldest shops in Bologna. I love how every space part from where the woman, Roberta, is working is occupied with a storage jar or cooking implement. No space is wasted and everything is in order. The composition is very carefully considered and Roberta is the brightest element so that she stands out from the darker surroundings as she gets on with her job. The jars in the foreground help me put myself in the scene, I feel like in at the counter, waiting too be served.
1st, 2023 - Aduas Kitchen - Carla Sutera Sardo, Italy
I was drawn to this image from the moment I saw it and I was intrigued to know the story behind it. The 86-year old woman's smart clothes and hat, her tense expression and the huge dish in front of her make it clear that this not an everyday scene. Meanwhile, the warm tones give a cosy feel that contradicts some of the formality of the situation. The image is part of a journey down memory lane of the woman who had to leave her lifelong home during the covid pandemic. I love Carla's composition which reveals the details of the kitchen, showing it clutter but clean and tidy, everything neatly arranged.
2nd, 2023 - Meatball - Tyllie Barbosa, United States
I like my food so I'm happy to see such a huge bowl of pasta in front of the model with an enormous forkful heading to her mouth.
The massive meatballs and scattering of bread and the sassy expression of model make it clear that this woman is not afraid to eat what she likes when she likes. She lives dangerously with that pale blouse and the sauce-laden spaghetti.
The styling in this image is superb, all the colours tone beautifully with the food and there's a sense that we're in an extravagant restaurant. Even the spaghetti, drenched in sauce, is coiled in the bowl with a little spilling opulently over the side.
Want more inspiration? See all the finalists from The Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers here.
Find out all about Claire Aho’s life in our blog with Jussi Brofeldt, Claire Aho’s son and Chairman of Aho & Soldan Photo and Film Foundation.
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