“Food unites us all: we must eat to survive. Though some see food as fuel, others celebrate food as one of the great joys of life. Food is about family, friendship, community and love”, says the Founder of the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year, Caroline Kenyon. Kenyon launched the Awards in 2011 to celebrate food photographers and filmmakers of every age and skill-level from around the world. This year’s exhibition shares glimpses of the food cultures of countries like Bangladesh, Germany, Chile, India, Australia and Taiwan, and features work produced by photographers as young as ten years old.

Finishing Touches by William Lindsay-Perez, Winner of the Category for 15-17 year olds

Images are judged by a panel of forty, including three Michelin-starred chef Pierre Koffmann, acclaimed pastry chef Emily Luchetti, the James Beard Foundation, and the internationally-renowned food photographer, David Loftus. This star-studded panel selects winners for each of the twenty-one categories, as well as an overall winner who receives the title of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year, and a cash prize of £5,000. This year's overall winner is Noor Ahmed Gelal for Praying with Food, which shows a section of the Hindu community preparing to break their day-long fast in one of the local temples at Swamibag in Bangladesh.

“It's very important to us that the Awards are open to all - professional and amateur, old and young - anywhere in the world”, says Kenyon. “Dedicating a category to images taken on mobile phones means that absolutely anyone can enter - you don’t need to have an expensive camera!” In keeping with this spirit of inclusivity and global mindedness, part of the exhibition’s proceeds goes to Action Against Hunger, a charity working to end child hunger, especially in Syria.

A Fisherman's Life by Probal Rashid, Winner of the World Food Programme Food for Life Category

While categories such as Food Bloggers and Marks & Spencer Food Portraiture showcase mouth-watering images to inspire food lovers, Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year also promotes a humanitarian focus through its Politics of Food and World Food Programme Food for Life categories. “Here, images expose and challenge contemporary realities of food production, and highlight situations where food makes the difference between life and death”, explains Kenyon. Food for Celebration, which is sponsored by Champagne Taittinger, explores the connection between eating and expressions of faith, presenting a selection of the myriad religious festivals which place food at their heart.

Praying with Food by Noor Ahmed Gelal, Overall Winner of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year, and Winner of the Food for Celebration Category

“It’s brilliant to see how this amazing project touches peoples’ lives in ways I couldn’t have imagined”, says Kenyon. “A year ago, I was invited to dine with the owners of a B&B where I was staying for work, and they told me an incredible story. My hostess had been very ill for several years; when she heard about the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year, she decided it could be the motivation for her recovery. Although bedridden, she was able to take photographs on her phone and build up her skill day by day. As her images improved, so did she, and by the time I met her she was so much healthier that plans were afoot to enter the Awards that year. From being housebound, she was going to travel from Cumbria to London just to see the exhibition!”

Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year is passionate about supporting and encouraging the artists behind the images. “To be shortlisted or a finalist can mean so much to our photographers, and has given many the confidence to develop their passion into a profession”, says Kenyon. “A finalist from 2012 said something to me which has meant a great deal; he said, ‘thank you for making food photography important’.”

Calum in his Pie Room by John Carey (UK), Winner of The Philip Harben Award for Food in Action

The Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year Exhibition is open at Mall Galleries from 25-29th April 2018. The gallery is open 10am-5pm, and admission is free.