The proof is in the spud-ing… Following success in 2020, the Potato Photographer of the Year award once again called for spud-loving creatives around the world to photograph the humble potato. We share the winners of this year’s competition

The Potato Photographer of the Year competition, organised by regular AP contributor Benedict Brain, was inspired by acclaimed photographer Kevin Abosch’s image of a potato. Selling for $1million in 2016, it was this photograph that confirmed the appetite for potato-based art.

The expert panel of judges included AP’s Nigel Atherton, as well as Martin Parr, Paul Hill, Amy D’Agorne, Angela Nicholson and Benedict Brain. The winners have also received prizes from the likes of FujiFilm, ThinkTank, Photocrowd, Fotospeed and the Royal Photographic Society, with all proceeds from the competition going to the Trussell Trust to help provide food for people in poverty.

Overall winner

Fish & Chips by William Ropp

“This was a challenge from a friend who after following art school courses ended up as a potato seller”

Judges comment:

“There’s something extremely wonderful and weird about this work. The amalgamation of vegetables and animals creates a strange portrait of the everyday food we consume. The fact that the image was taken on a polaroid camera with just a flashlight is of great credit to the photographer’s skill”: Amy D’Agorne

“There’s a wonderfully surreal element to this image with dark undertones but also a touch of humour, an interesting combo, that maybe speaks to the times we live in. It has been artfully conceived and beautifully put together using analogue techniques”: Benedict Brain

Second place

Precious Potato by Clair

“Jean is in her late 90’s she has raised four children, been very close to her grandchildren and is lucky to see her bubbly great-grandchild growing up. For most of her life she has cooked and cared for her family, feeding them traditional nutritious meals, she appreciates the simplicity of the humble potato and how it can feed many around her ever-growing table. Many things in Jeans’ lifetime have altered, except for the classic potato.”

Judges comment:

“The wonderfully simple and delicate approach to this image has been beautifully handled”: Benedict Brain

Third place

Hands Holding New Potatoes by John Glover

“Hands holding homegrown new organic potatoes recently harvested”

Judges comment

“I love the simplicity of this as the gardener proudly shows off their homegrown spuds”: Martin Parr

Fourth place

My Potato Necklace by Clair

“Exploring the possibilities of how the humble portable could be re-imagined.”

Judges comment

“This is a beautiful portrait in its own right. The photographer plays with both humour and intrigue with the added necklace of potatoes. I have heard of some old myths of a necklace of potatoes being used to cue a cold or fever. I wonder if the photographer was playing with this myth through their pairing of the potato necklace with the doilie?”: Amy D’Agorne

Fifth place

Potato Ketchup by Steve Caplin

“Made with Potatoshop”

Sixth place

The Potato in Motion by SpudWhite

“Photographing a potato at 1-millisecond intervals reveals that they are in a constant state of chaotic movement”

Seventh place

The Screaming Potato by Erin Marie

“This image was created using potato peels dipped in acrylic paint and a carved potato.”

Judges comment:

“The peelings replicate the brush strokes in Munch’s painting brilliantly and the potato face has the same haunting quality. I hope this is one of a series!”: Angela Nicholson

Eighth place

Local Growers Market India by Ron Boon

Ninth place

Growth by Nigel Summerton

Tenth place

Submerged by Cashou

“Experimenting with potatoes underwater – this one reminds me of an embryo attached by its umbilical cord”

Judges comments

“I love the connection made here between the way the potato grows its new potatoes and an umbilical cord/the way new life is formed in humans. In Rebecca Earle’s ‘Feeding the People; The Politics of the Potato’, she claims “Potatoes and people alike are born from the dark earth and return to it”. I think that acknowledgement of just how similar we really are to the food we eat, and nature itself, is illustrated beautifully here.”

Further reading

The photo of a potato that sold for €1M, over a few glasses of wine

How to take better food photos

Food photography tips: adding human interest