Our Best Digital Photography of 2017

Feast your eyes on SAVEUR's best of web photography from this past year

As this year comes to a close, we want to take a moment to celebrate the incredible images we captured here at home and around the world, from the deserts of the Texas borderland to the mountains of central Vietnam. The content we’ve produced this year would hardly be possible without the countless photographers, food stylists, and subjects who’ve lended their time and talent to help tell our stories. Though it would be impossible to adequately show off the range of locations and stories we published this year, here is a small sampling of the imagery we found most moving, creative, or memorable. Want to see more mouthwatering and awe-inspiring photography from this year? Check out our list of best print photography from 2017.

Furaha Clavella, the youngest in the family, was born in Syracuse. She tells me that although she enjoys East African food, she also has a big sweet tooth for cookie dough ice cream.

Half a century ago, Syracuse, NY was Everycity, America. These days it still is, but precisely because of how it’s embraced immigrants and refugees from a dozen countries, from Pakistan to Rwanda, and given them a home to thrive. For July 4th, I sent SAVEUR’s photo editor Michelle Heimerman to spend the day with these new Americans and documented how they celebrated their adopted country’s day of independence. The portraits and stories she brought back managed to melt my frozen, shriveled heart. — Max Falkowitz, executive digital editor

A clam cocktail, served in its own shell.

Ensenada was one of my favorite places I traveled in 2017, mainly because it was so surprisingly beautiful, and my travel companion, chef Bryan Noury of Hotel Americano, was so dang funny. We were there to make ceviche with the legendary Doña Sabina Bandera, aka La Guerrerense. I got to eat incredible seafood, drink amazing wine, and hear one of the best mariachis ever. — Matt Taylor-Gross, staff photographer

DOT

I had the opportunity to work with Saigon-based photographer Lee Starnes while reporting several stories in Vietnam. While shooting our guide to a night out in Hanoi, Vietnam, Starnes captured this shot of bartender Đào Bá Trung, owner of sidewalk cocktail joint DOT over looking the city’s West Lake. — Dan Q. Dao, deputy digital editor

split pizza of Cilantro pesto and Canadian Bacon Sweet Hot

I honestly had no idea Wisconsin is so rad and beautiful and full of cool people. I think I wanna move there. — Matt Taylor-Gross, staff photographer

A beautiful dish from the Ducksoup cookbook—part of an entire chapter on quick, no-cook dishes that you could put together five minutes after coming home from the market. — Allie Wist, associate art director

Marfa, Texas

Epazote-infused gin martini

The thing that stuck with me from The Capri in Marfa, Texas was the epazote-infused gin martini. Epazote is a traditional herb used in Mexican cooking, I would never think of throwing it in with some gin. — Matt Taylor-Gross, staff photographer

Scandinavian Black Licorice

A kaleidoscope of Scandinavian Black Licorice.

Capturing this geometric kaleidoscope pattern to showcase the much-maligned Scandinavian black licorice was one of the most fun styling and shooting sessions we did in-house. — Allie Wist, associate art director

Meet the Man Behind the World’s Cheapest Michelin-Starred Dish

Chan Hon Meng is a Michelin-recognized Singaporean street hawker.

Chan Hon Meng made waves worldwide when his Singapore-based food stall, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken & Noodle, won a Michelin star earlier this year, earning him the distinction of serving the cheapest Michelin-star meal in the world at roughly $2. Freelance photographer Emanuel Hahn captured this shot of hawker Chan smiling while in his element. — Dan Q. Dao, deputy digital editor

Shirmal Vendor in Lucknow, India

Selling the saffron-splashed bread shirmal in Lucknow.

A long-time contributor to SAVEUR, Ariana Lindquist is known for her striking, photojournalist style. In this image from Lucknow, India, she captures the exact moment of a street seller’s handoff of shirmal, a saffron-splashed bread. — Allie Wist, associate art director

Life at the Two-Restaurant Town on the Mexican Border

A two-restaurant town

2017 was the year of Mexico for me, the year started with going to shoot a story about a small border town just on the other side of Big Bend National Park in Texas. Associate digital editor Katie Whittaker wrote an excellent piece about what Boquillas is like now that the border has reopened. Boquillas was lovely and the people incredibly generous, but my favorite part of the trip was teaching Katie, a Texas newbie, that scorpions don’t fly. — Matt Taylor-Gross, staff photographer

Sugar Cane Cutters in Valle de Cauca, Colombia

A cane cutter in Colombia’s Valle de Cauca swings a machete at the charred stalks of sugar cane. The cane is burnt the night before to make cutting easier.

Colombia is one of the world’s largest producers of sugar cane, and in some places, the plant is still harvested by hand, by machete-wielding “cane cutters.” While mechanized harvests have taken over much of the work on fields like these, at Manuelita in Valle de Cauca, the region still relies on the skills of those who can cut the unwieldy stalks manually. I captured this image on a grant project from the Tinker Foundation and New York University to document sugar consumption in Colombia. — Allie Wist, associate art director

The Tien Ngoc elementary school is located in Tien Phuoc, a rural, mountainous district town in Quang Nam, Vietnam.

During a reporting trip in central Vietnam, I worked with Hoi An-based photographer Cosmo Hirst-Mahal. This shot of water buffalo grazing in a valley—captured in the rural hamlet of Tien Phuoc—illustrates the isolation of the country’s mountain-dwelling communities, who are often the most at-risk for poverty. — Dan Q. Dao, deputy digital editor

NYC Meat Vendor After Dark

A photo from Daniel Soares’ photo essay on NYC vendors at night, lit by smoky neon lights.

Daniel Soares, a New York-based filmmaker, has been capturing the neon lights of NYC’s nights, including the smoky, hazy storefronts of restaurants, butchers, and bodegas. His images are both documentary and painterly in nature, using lit facades as a blazing color palette. — Allie Wist, associate art director

Heami Lee‘s striking ocean-inspired food photography, part of a dinner highlighting issues linking our tables to climate change, was one of SAVEUR’s best conceptual images of 2017. This photo includes edible ingredients important to a future in which our eating may be more informed by climate change: kombu, kelp, oysters, clams, and other mollusks. — Allie Wist, associate art director