Smashed it: Potato Photographer of the Year revealed

A judging panel featuring Martin Parr and Paul Hill has selected the ten best photographs of potatoes this year, from straight-up spud portraits to documentary-style shots of pickers.

29 July 2020

The winners of this year’s Potato Photographer of the Year award, or PotatoPOTY 2020 to those in the know, have been revealed. A judging panel including Martin Parr and Paul Hill MBE selected the top ten photographs of a potato from hundreds of entries, the winner depicting a potato having a post-lockdown hair cut.

End of Lockdown by Ray Spence took the top prize, with judge Nigel Atherton saying the picture “manages to introduce a topical lockdown obsession to the brief of photographing a potato. It takes great imagination to see a sprouting potato as a head covered with hair,” he adds, “and there is a lot of humour in the way the picture has been executed”.

Second prize went to an image simply titled Potato by David White, which Atherton commented looks like “an alien lifeform”. Third prize went to Amy D’Agorne’s Tight Market Specifications, a collaged self-portrait of the photographer using slices of potato peel as a face mask, as practiced by some indigenous Peruvian women, and exploring the dark world of agribusiness. “This image investigates the relationship between natural remedies/the close relationship some people have with their food and the big companies/corporations that take advantage of that natural knowledge to expand on market specifications,” the photographer explains. D’Agorne also came in ninth place for another self-portrait titled 2030, that sees her exploring the mass hysteria around food shortages at the start of lockdown in the form of a dystopian vision, also a self-portrait.

Other highlights of prize include Planting Jersey Royals by Peter Hubert, which Martin Parr described as “a very well arranged image showing potato pickers. Looks like back-breaking work”; and an untitled piece by Tova Krentzman showing a group of individuals “together yet very much alone” peeling potatoes. Paul Hill called the image a “carefully arranged tableau,” that “creatively used what looks like available light in an empty kitchen, and the image also reflects effectively the claustrophobic side of the lockdown. It is engagingly surreal and a bit bonkers too.”

There’s also a photo of a potato face smiley from inside photographer Justin Quinnell’s mouth, using a 110 cartridge pinhole camera; a portrait of a sweet potato by Laure Gibault that Parr says looks like “a cross between a seal and a unicorn”; and William Richardson’s shot of chips in a polystyrene box topped with a lot of mayonnaise, which Parr called “reassuring”.

The competition through photography platform Photocrowd looked for “unique and creative ways to portray the potato” with prizes including a Fujifilm XA-7 camera and one year Royal Photographic Society membership. Proceeds from the competition are going to the Trussell Trust, to provide food for people in need during the Covid-19 crisis.

GalleryPotato Photographer of the Year 2020


David White: Potato


Amy D’Agorne: Tight Market Specifications


Tova Krentzman: Untitled


Peter Hubert: Planting Jersey Royals


Laure Gibault: Potato Slug


William Richardson: Frites in Bruges


Amy D’Agorne: 2030


Jodie Krause: Apple of the Earth


Justin Quinnell: Eating a 'potato face' - from inside of my mouth

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Ray Spence: End of Lockdown

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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