Success From Across the Globe

Joining us all the way from Australia, Chloe Dann took home the 2019 Student Food Photographer of the Year trophy with her image, The Carnal Supper. The owner of the Pink Lady® trademark, Apple and Pear Australia, sponsored Chloe to join us for our Awards Evening back in April.

blankDescription: This photo is from a series I made which explores the corporeality of human eating habits and the role of the culinary arts in the relationship between nature and culture.
Technical: Canon 5D Mark III

Chloe, tell us about yourself and your background in photography…

Growing up there was always an abundance of cookbooks and food magazines sprawled around the apartment. My mum and I would spend Sunday afternoons looking through them, commenting on the photos, deciding which recipes to try out that week. Cooking was a big part of my childhood and adolescence, so much so that at one point I thought I wanted to be a chef. I had a little catering business as a teenager and began taking photos of the food I was making. It grew pretty quickly from there.

I completed my BA in Photography at RMIT in Melbourne last year, and have continued with my Honours this year. It’s been a sort of amalgamation of a commercial photography and fine art degree. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve met and learned from some wonderful and talented people over the past few years, and I was lucky enough to spend a semester studying abroad at Parsons School of Design in New York, which was incredible.

With three finalist images, tell us a little more about your winning image, how you created such a piece, and what inspired you…

I like incorporating elements of the surreal or the absurd. Photography is so closely tied to the real, it’s fun to find different ways of challenging that expectation.

I’m interested in the role of food in art throughout history, from religious iconography and still life painting through to contemporary food photography. I wanted to create an image that converged those different elements, while exploring the carnality and corporeality in our eating habits, and the ritualization of the eater’s relationship with the eaten. I was concentrating on the dichotomy between nature and culture, specifically the domestication of nature through culinary intervention. Food preparation and consumption are some of the most ambiguous and intimate rituals in our daily lives, while also being heavily tied to our experiences of subjectivity and embodiment. Through complicating the act of eating, the work encourages the viewer to reassess these experiences on a more conscious level.

Title: Nature
This photo is from a series I made which explores the corporeality of human eating habits and the role of the culinary arts in the relationship between nature and culture.
Technical: Canon 5D Mark III 



Title: Corn
This photo is from a series I made looking at the beauty and simplicity in natural produce.
Technical: Canon 5D Mark III 

Who is your biggest influence?

Probably my mother. Beyond passing down her passion for food, she was the hardest working, most resilient person. She instilled in me the importance of a strong work ethic from an early age, and was forever encouraging my creative pursuits.

Now I’m just constantly taking inspiration from different artists, from photographers and filmmakers to food writers and chefs. I’m fascinated by the different ways in which food can be used as a vehicle for communication. I have an affinity for still life paintings from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, which has informed my aesthetic direction. Peter Greenaway, Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte have also had a long-standing influence on my work, along with Gay Bilson, a brilliant Australian writer and restaurateur. David Loftus was one of the first food photographers whose images I just fell in love with. He was my introduction to the world of cookbook photography. I’m a bit of a cookbook fanatic and some of my favourites have been shot by him. Most recently I’ve been really into Bobby Doherty’s work, and his insane use of colour and play.

You came all the way from Australia to join us for our Awards Evening, how was your experience and how did it feel to win the award?

The entire experience was surreal. I think I was running on adrenaline for most of the trip. Caroline, Kathleen and Alyssia were so kind and welcoming, they went above and beyond to ensure my stay in London was enjoyable. They even invited me to a guided tour of the Borough Market, now my favourite place in London.


The awards evening was a whirlwind of excitement and disbelief. I was on the other side of the world, surrounded by people whose work I had admired for years, and everyone was there for the same reason, to celebrate food photography. The mood was joyous and that joy was infectious. Hearing my name announced as winner of the student category was the cherry on top of an already extraordinary experience.


Why would you recommend other students to enter the awards, even from across the globe?

I would encourage students from all over the world to enter these awards. Prior to this experience, I hadn’t encountered that many people who took food photography seriously, neither as an art form nor a viable career option. So being in a roomful of people who were all there to appreciate and celebrate food photography universally and listening to everyone speak about it with such passion and veneration, was incredibly inspiring. It gave me a sense of validation that I think I needed going into my final year of study and thinking about embarking on a career in the professional industry.

Australia is about as far away as you can get, but I promise it’s worth the travel time… The whole experience has gone beyond any expectations I could have possibly had. I am so grateful to the Food Awards Company for creating such a wonderful celebration and global platform for food photographers.

Want to see more of Chloe’s work? Find her on Instagram: @chloejdann


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