Close-up Photographer of the Year 02, in association with Affinity Photo, winners announced
French photographer Galice Hoarau – a professor in marine molecular ecology – has been named overall winner of Close-up Photographer of the Year 02 with his beautiful image of an eel larva spotted off the island of Lembeh (Indonesia) during a blackwater dive.
‘Peering through the darkness with your torch can be stressful the first time you do it, but it gets fascinating quickly, explains Galice. ‘After sunset, small pelagic animals (like this larva) rise close to the surface to feed where the sunlight has allowed planktonic algae to grow. At sunrise, they dive into the depths and stay there during the day to escape predators.’
Galice takes home £2,500 and the CUPOTY trophy. He also sees his work displayed to a global audience in the Top 100 online gallery at www.cupoty.com.
More than 6,500 pictures were entered this year, from 52 countries. There were seven categories: Animals, Insects, Plants & Fungi, Intimate Landscape, Manmade World and Micro (for images created using a microscope), plus Young Close-up Photographer of the Year, for entrants aged 17 or under.
While Galice took the top spot in the Animals category, Mike Curry wowed the judges with his shot of a butterfly surrounded by peeling paint in the Insects category. ‘The juxtaposition of manmade decay and natural beauty works beautifully here,’ said competition judge Ross Hoddinott. ‘The texture and pattern of the blistered paint creates a compelling close-up on its own, but the addition of the butterfly’s natural beauty and delicacy is a masterstroke.’
Winner of the Plants & Fungi category, Elizabeth Kazda, stayed closed to home by gathering tulips from her garden and combining multiple exposures to create a striking graphic image, while entrant Mark James Ford trekked across a baking lava field in Hawaii, with heat rising from every crack, to create his image of lava flow setting – securing top spot in the Intimate Landscape category.
In the Manmade World category Kym Cox took the title for a second year with her study of the life cycle of a soap bubble. Competition judge Keith Wilson was particularly impressed. ‘At first glance, this is a puzzling picture that enthrals with its mystery,’ he commented. ‘Nothing is obvious here. And yet, like all good stories, it pulls you in, frame by colourful frame, until the reality unfolds and you are left in a state of wonder at the simplicity of it all.’ The Micro category amazed and delighted, with subjects ranging from lettuce leaves to callus removing substances. Electrician Andrei Savitsky fought off stiff competition with his image of a glass worm, taken with a smartphone.
It was another great year for Young Close-up Photographer of the Year with Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz scooping the overall title for his magical shot of a springtail in a meadow close to his home in Hungary. ‘One frosty winter’s morning I headed out to take some extreme macro shots at the surface of some frozen water that had pooled in the tracks left by a tractor, he explains. ‘Crouching down, I spotted some yellow globular springtails which were feeding in the sunrays reflected from the ice. I used LED torches to illuminate one of them, and came away with a picture that celebrates this tiny creature.’
Whittling down the entries was a tough job, but expert judges Sue Bishop, Matt Doogue, Ross Hoddinott, David Maitland, Robert Thompson and Keith Wilson rose to the challenge. Tracy Calder, co-founder of CUPOTY, said, ‘The standard was incredible! Yet again, entrants have shown that close-up photography can help us see the world anew and discover beauty in subjects that are often overlooked.’
The Top 100 entries can now be viewed at www.cupoty.com.
To join the CUPOTY community (and receive details about next year’s competition), visit the CUPOTY homepage and sign up to the newsletter.