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Potato in Motion by David White

1 September 2023

I created this image as an entry into the 2021 Potato Photographer of the Year competition (RIP).

In case this esteemed competition passed you by, it was the child of Benedict Brain’s brain, and was first launched in 2020, inspired by photographer Kevin Abosch’s image of a potato which sold for $1million in 2016.

I was attracted to the competition for a few reasons: all proceeds from the comp’s £5 entry fee went to The Trussell Trust, to help provide food for those in poverty, there was no rights grab, and it seemed to be a light hearted rebuke to all the money grabbing, rights grabbing photography competitions which proliferate now. Plus, I was bored, and it seemed fun. Then I got carried away.

This is a series of images of a potato in motion, the motion only evident when you image a spud at 120,000 frames a second. It even leaves the ground at one point. This is a scientific revelation, but it is apparently of no use to the scientific community. Bastards. I have had some interest from Heston Blumenthal however.

I had entered the comp the previous year, managing a solid 2nd place, and was determined to better that. Unfortunately the esteemed judges did not appreciate the revelatory nature of the content (I blame Martin Parr, he clearly knows nothing about potatoes) and I came 6th. I therefore cannot claim to be the greatest potato photographer in the world.

David White started in photography in 1989, taking the NCTJ at Stradbroke in Sheffield. His first job was as a junior photographer on the Leicester Mercury. After gaining his NCTJ seniority two years later, he left to freelance and chase stories. He has been represented by many agencies over the years, from Rex to Katz, Polaris to Horton-Stephens. He has been a contributing editor to Marie-Claire magazine for his reportage photography. He won a world press award in 2001 for a picture of a cosmonaut in his space underwear. He likes to play, break things and injure himself. He is presently Senior Lecturer at Falmouth University on the Press and Editorial Photography BA degree course, and a foster carer.

See more work by David White

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