Their grey-black hair and sausagey shape do not make them obviously photogenic, but these pigs are as good as supermodels in the world of food photography. Jean Cazal's 'Black Pigs' have won him the title of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2012.
It is the world's very first international food photography competition, and it received over 3,000 entries from more than 60 countries. These were whittled down to the 60 finalists whose work will be exhibited at Mall Galleries in London until Sunday the 29th of April. The nine competition categories include Food in the Field, Cream of the Crop, Food for Sale, and categories for young photographers.
The photographs are the work of both professionals and amateurs. Far from being a collection of glossy food cliches, they contain a diverse mix of people, locations and activities. The results therefore pay tribute not only to finished dishes but creatures destined for the pot, individual ingredients, and the people who burn and blemish their hands in the making of our food.
The Cream of the Crop section celebrates the beauty of produce. The rosy lustre of Georgia Glynn Smith's 'Rhubarb' comes from only stalks of the fruit filling the frame in arresting stripes. Category winner Jed Alder's 'Home-grown Garlic' uses macro photography to pick up detail in the papery garlic skin and grainy wood.
Home-grown Garlic by Jed Alder. Photograph: Kenyon Communications.
Captions penned by artists always provide some gems. Not only will Gavin Bond's 'Lobster' continue to haunt me with its beady stare, so will his description of the cheeky crustacean: "The lobster was alive and was winking at me between shots".
The finalists in the Under 18s categories created technically accomplished, often dynamic shots. These helpfully emphasise how many of us long past the age of 18 regularly produce rubbish we proudly think is photography. Several of the works explored interplay between different foods and substances. A strawberry engulfed in a silky splash of milk won first prize for Kyle Meadows in the 15-17 year-olds group.
Strawberry in Milk by Kyle Meadows. Photograph: Kenyon Communications.
Among the Food in the Street finalists were lively images capturing the exotic alongside the mundane in markets, on pavements and in an Afghan refugee camp. The first prize was awarded to Rebecca Chesney's 'Istanbul Juicer'.
Istanbul Juicer by Rebecca Chesney. Photograph: Kenyon Communications.
I do like to eavesdrop at galleries and the winning entry of the Food Portraiture section elicited an interesting response from a photographer who stood behind me. "I'm sick with jealousy. I swear I will never eat ice cream again" she seethed. I think that might be a compliment.
Blueberry Icecream by Hilary Moore. Photograph: Kenyon Communications.