Our Favorite Luxury Photo of the Year

(Bloomberg) — The joy of being a luxury photo editor lies in the diversity of photography available to produce. From the diehard vintage car collector to the irresistible cake to the famous changemaker, there are always new ways to perpetuate the world of elegance.

What looks beautiful in the end is not always easy to set up. The photographer and subject fell ill at the last minute. There was a critical delay in product delivery. And as a journalist, it’s important to be careful about including a broad background of visual storytellers. But it’s the creative challenge of assigning compelling images that keeps us motivated to do what we love.

Below are 11 of our favorite photos of the year, as well as explanations for what makes them captivating, aspirational, uplifting, and just plain fun.

Virginia Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl From “Chefs From Across America Share Their Juneteenth Cooking Menus”

Excitement is the feeling that immediately comes to mind when I see this portrait of Ben’s Chili Bowl founder Virginia Ali. We sent Nicholas Karlin and Clarissa Villondo to the Washington area to shoot meaningful stories about the chefs’ Juneteenth celebration. Ali’s restaurant is famous for its history. Pastor Dr. Martha Lutin King Jr. had an office nearby and would order a chili cheeseburger from Ben’s. Ali’s bright spirit bursts through the images, and our photographers help honor him. —Evan Ortiz

Decorative Candles From “The Overloaded Dinner Party Flame Fan With These Candles and Holders”

Frank Frances’ technical expertise is the perfect match (pardon the pun) to this collection of high-end candles, candle holders and accessories. This moody shot conveys drama and grace and makes me want to level up my dinner party. —Leonor Mamanna

King of Hammers Race From “Mad Max Meets Burnt Man in This Car Race in the Desert”

I don’t have a car. In fact, I don’t even have a SIM. Seeing Larry Chen’s off-road photos both excite and frighten me. We sent Chen to document the King of Hammers race in February outside Los Angeles. Having years of car photography experience, he knows exactly how to capture the energy of these crazy events. —EO

Delicious Cake Display From “Why Bake? The Best Cakes for Festive Dinners Available by Mail”

Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh are the dynamic duo that I know would make a fun and delightful photo of Good Cakes & Bakes’ delicious strawberry crunchy cake for our Holiday Entertaining issue. Together with prop stylist Marina Bevilacqua, they created a festive table setting where we all want to sit. —LM

Dry Aged Fish From “Dry Aged Fish: Why ‘Fresh’ Is Not a Seafood Preference”

When I asked Joyce Lee to recreate the Dutch master lighting with mobile settings behind the restaurant to photograph a school of fish, I knew she would have had the challenge. Her versatile skills and artistic eye made her the perfect fit for this beautiful shot, and she made my photo editor dreams come true. —LM

Joe Tolbert Jr. From “An Appalachian Group Is Forging a More Community-Based Approach to Giving”

At Pursuits, we’ve started a series called “Industry Shakers” which celebrates entrepreneurs of color shaking up their field of perspective. I loved seeing Black joy, and I was grateful to send photographer Joseph Ross to capture Joe Tolbert Jr. from the Waymakers Collective. Tolbert’s work involves community-oriented grantmaking, and we wanted his portraits to capture this spirit of togetherness. —EO

Green Gifts Abundant From “85 Decadent Gifts to Ruin Your Entire List”

Our annual gift guides are always visually pleasing, and when we commissioned photographer Sarah Anne Ward and prop stylist Paola Andrea to create a set with natural themes like flowers, wood, and snow, I knew they would rise to the occasion. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but this lush, mossy green shot featuring a necklace with 1,250 round brilliant diamonds definitely rises to the top. —LM

Mr. Brainwashing From “Mr. Brainwash Puts Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari in New LA Art Show”

I love a character, and I love the opportunity to photograph the artist Mr. Brainwash for her upcoming pop-up exhibition. Gabriel Nivera came to capture the exuberance of the exhibition and the expressive side of Mr. Brainwash, and I really enjoy this contemplative photo of him surrounded by his work. —EO

African Restaurant From “There’s Never Been a Better Time to Eat African Food in London”

This fall, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to London to shoot a feature shot of the city’s famous African restaurant scene. But after the first promising shoot, my excitement quickly turned to crisis when I contracted Covid-19 two days into my trip. That’s where the heroic photographer Francis Augusto quickly made his way into the remaining locations. Not only did she pull off this last-minute task with grace, but she delivered a series of powerful eating images that appealed to both my taste buds and my heart. I wanted a way to honor how we both participated in this, so it was great to use a scrapbook-style collage format to enhance the assets while still being able to include some of my own images. —EO

Stunt Driver Sera Trimble From “Stunt Driver Sera Trimble on How She Started (and Her Porsche 911)”

Our esteemed car columnist Hannah Elliot and I have been working on an interesting series about vintage car collectors called “How Did You Get That Car?” and I was thrilled when we chose stunt driver Sera Trimble as the subject. He ticks all the boxes for what we want from this type of story: dynamic personalities, captivating stories, and flashy vehicles. Photographer Gabriel Nivera was able to marry all of that in this fierce series of images of the renowned driver and collector in his bright red 1986 Porsche 911. —EO

Scenic Wales From “With Food and Drink Highlights, Now’s the Perfect Time to Visit Wales”

Photographer Emli Bendixen travels around the Welsh countryside to contribute to our piece on the best places to visit. He’s captured countless rural landscapes, making it challenging to shoot just one, but this beautiful image from Fforest is as calming as a breath of fresh air in photographic form. —LM

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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