THE STORY BEHIND THE OVERALL WINNER OF PINK LADY® FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2023 BY JON ENOCH
This stunning full length portrait, The Candy Men, by Jon Enoch, won him the title of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2023. Its composition, colouration, mood and emotion all captivated the judging panel when they came to make their final choice from a fiercely-fought field.
We caught up with Jon to find out more about this beautiful and resonant image.
Can you tell me more about the project that the image comes from?
The image comes from a wider series called The Candy Men, which is a set of portraits of candy floss sellers in Mumbai, India. The subjects all work selling candy floss in the city, predominantly around the beaches and attractions in the western suburbs. The structure is for displaying the candy floss to attract customers along the beaches and streets. The streets are packed so they need height so people can see them. The beaches are also long and wide so the sellers have evolved these lovely ways of displaying the candy.
Would you consider yourself a food photographer? Why/why not?
I would consider myself a people photographer. All my work and commissions have people in common. Food plays a large role in the human experience so it's often front and center of what I shoot but I’m more interested in the human factor rather than the food itself. Think of any great human experience and, well for me anyway, food isn’t too far away.
What tips would you have for others entering the competition?
Make sure your work stands out. It’s easy to say, but hard to do. Ideas are key. In a world so saturated with amazing images you need to be doing something a bit different if anyone is going to notice.
What tips would you have for project / documentary / food photography in general?
Planning, planning, planning - and throwing the plan out and being able to do something totally different. Everyone will have their ways of working but for me I like everything nailed down. This can be the making or the curse of a project. You need to know when plan A is not working and be fluid enough to try something else. The ability to work and think under pressure are key. I used to work in news so that skill is ingrained.
What is the lighting setup of your image/s in this project?
Key light from a Profoto B1’s then three more B1’s all on C-stands with a range of modifiers. It's about drawing out the lighting that exists in the scene naturally. So working with the street lights and the spill from the shops and houses. The B1’s give you power and portability which is key especially when on the road.
Did you have this competition in mind when taking these shots?
No not at the time but it quickly dawned on me it would be a very good fit. It's the first time I have entered, so I’m very happy to have won the award.
What drives you in your projects?
I shoot a lot of commercial work for a wide range of clients and love bringing a brand or agency’s brief to life. But my projects are entirely executed and conceived in my vision. It's the freedom to do what I want, how I want, where I want. There are threads that link my projects but I try not to overthink it. Ultimately I'm driven to produce personal work because it acts as the best representation of who I am as a photographer.
What’s next for you?
I have recently shot for TAG Heuer, Grolsh and Bombay Sapphire. On the personal project front I'm at that lovely and rather terrifying point where I’m trying to come up with the next idea. I’m spending a lot of time in coffee shops staring out the window. I’m good at visualisation so I can run ideas through my mind and see what it might look like. I’m getting there…I’m bouncing ideas off the girlfriend which is driving her insane….. “Monkey tennis”.
Thank you so much, Jon, for this fascinating and enlightening background to your winning shot. Enjoy your year as reigning Overall Winner and we wish you well and inspiration for your next project!
If you’d like a shot at becoming the next winner, explore the categories you could enter today.
- A Judge’s thoughts on “What makes a good commercial photographer?” September 4, 2023
- World Photography Day - How our celebration of food photography began… August 18, 2023
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