Winners of SAFN’s 3rd Annual Anthropology Day Photo Contest!

David Beriss

We are ready to reveal the winners of this year’s SAFN Anthropology Day photo contest!

The weighty decision was reached by a panel made up of SAFN officers, including Jennifer Jo Thompson, Amanda Green, Scott Alves Barton, Noha Fikry, and me. I want to thank the committee for their work and their patience. Our criteria this year were the same as last year. Photos were judged for

  • the ethnographic nature of the pictures, overall.
  • the contribution of the photo as insight into foodways.
  • the extent to which the photos help us see the work and lives of people in food.
  • the overall composition, originality, etc.

The photos submitted this year were outstanding and the decisions were difficult. We are grateful for everyone who submitted photos and impressed by the talent, skill, and insights of SAFN anthropologists.

Note that the photos below have been sized to fit this page. In most cases, if you click on the photo, you can see a larger version. Given how stunning they are, I recommend doing that.

The overall winner of the 2023 SAFN Anthropology Day Photo Contest is Elin Linder, a PhD student in the Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University. Elin submitted a series of photos entitled “Sensed from Within and Above, Near and Afar – Making Olive Oil in Southern Puglia.” The photos do a remarkable job of providing insights into both the making of olive oil and the work of doing anthropology.

Photo 1. DOP Collina di Brindisi – Making the taste of place and certifying the heritage of a landscape through Protected Designation of Origin [abbreviated POD in English and DOP in Italian]. The photo was taken in Ostuni in 2020 and visualizes parts of the protected area of DOP Collina di Brindisi. Photo by Elin Linder.
Photo 2. Millennial bodies of olive plants producing food for, and by means of, the bodies of humans through histories of times. The legacy of olive oil production in Puglia dates back to Roman times and the landscape is rooted with roughly half a million millennial olive trees, so called Monumenti Naturali. Photo taken by Elin Linder in Fasano, 2021.
Photo 3. A seasonal harvest worker on his way to unload a 60 kg bucket filled with olives on the platform body. The olives were harvested directly from the trees using a trunk-shaker and iron sticks [bastoni]. Photo taken by Elin Linder in an orchard of Masseria Mozzone in Fasano, 2020.
Photo 4. Freshly harvested olives unloaded on the platform body. The roughly 3 tons of olives will at the end of the day be taken to a pressing facility, where they become pressed within 24 hours for the making of extra virgin olive oil. Photo taken by Elin Linder in an orchard of Masseria Mozzone in Fasano, 2020.
Photo 5. Crafting olive oil by means of tecnica tradizionale. The photo features the
traditional way of extracting olive oil by stacking fiscoli [woven pressing mats] and weights. Photo taken by Elin Linder in the pressing facility of Leone Pace in Castellana Grotte, 2020.
Photo 6. A silky touch of freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil. Giovanni draws his hand through the freshly pressed oil to show the oily feel of the water-oil liquid called mosto. The liquid is yet to undergo decanting to become pure oil. Photo taken by Elin Linder in the pressing facility of Leone Pace in Castellana Grotte, 2020.

Second place this year goes to Miguel Cuj, a Ph. D student in Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. Miguel submitted only one photo, rather than a series, but that single photo caught the judges’ attention, both for the composition and for the content.

Miguel notes that “In K’iche’ Maya market days, food markets are a site of flavors and colors. The food markets nest traditional and local dishes that are still accessible to all diners that eat in these places. Also, the food markets host knowledge of how these dishes are made. If you someday arrive in Iximulew (Guatemala), you should stop in rural Maya food markets to taste amazing and delicious food preparations.”

Market Foods in a K’iche’ Market, January 2023. Photo by Miguel Cuj.

Third place goes to James M. Hundley, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Rowan University. The photos illustrate the intersection of hospitality and Northwest Coast Indigenous foodways, with particular attention to salmon. The combination of nicely composed photos and ethnographic detail caught the attention of the judges. The texts below, along with the photos and captions, are by James M. Hundley.

“Generosity – Fort Rupert, July 2014.” Photo by James M. Hundley.

This photo was taken on July 8th, 2014 during an ethnographic fieldwork project chronicling an annual Canoe Journey on the Northwest Coast in the territory of the Kwakiutl First Nation, one of the constituent nations of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw Indigenous peoples. The nation had planned to host dozens of canoe families for one night as they paddled from all across British Columbia and Washington to Bella Bella, BC. Dangerous weather conditions preventing our departure led them to host us all for three nights. This entailed feeding us too. Pictured in the middle is salmon, a staple food across the entire Northwest Coast, roasting over a fire in the bighouse of the Kwakiutl First Nation where we ate and slept for three nights. There are tables of food which they generously donated to unexpectedly feed over a hundred guests.  

“Salmon Canning – Nooksack Indian Tribe, April 2015.” Photo by James M. Hundley.

As a traditional food that is under threat across the Northwest Coast, salmon remains integral to the daily lives of numerous Indigenous nations. The Nooksack Indian Tribe has a robust cultural resources department that, in partnership with other tribal departments, provides food for elders and other tribal members. Pictured here are pieces of smoked salmon that we were canning to give to elders. Tribal fishermen donated the salmon, others offered to preserve it in their smokehouse, and the cultural resources department spent a day canning the salmon to make sure their elders had access to salmon throughout the year as part of an effort to revitalize traditional foods. 

“Waiting in the rain, July 5, 2014, Sayward Village, BC.” Photo by James M. Hundley.

Lines of hungry canoe pullers – those who paddle in Indigenous ocean-going canoes – wait in the rain for salmon cooked on a barbecue. Canoe families paddling to Bella Bella, BC coming from the south all stopped in the village of Sayward, BC in the territory of the K’ómoks First Nation which hosted us, fed us, and, as a treat from spending days or weeks on the water, offered showers in their community center. As an anthropologist who spent eighteen months working in Coast Salish and neighboring nations territories, salmon was an ever-present food that always shared and brought people together whether it was on the Canoe Journey in the summer or at policy meetings brainstorming how to best approach the state about environmental sustainability issues. 

Congratulations to our winners! And much thanks to everyone who submitted photos and to our judging team. This is a fun contest and we certainly hope to hold it again next year. Consider going through your fieldwork photos to find some interesting pictures or go take some new ones…and be sure to send some in next year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s