Spectacular Winning Images Of The Close-Up Photographer Of The Year Minimal Challenge – Design You Trust — Design Daily Since 2007

Spectacular Winning Images Of The Close-Up Photographer Of The Year Minimal Challenge

The 2022 Minimal Challenge by the Close-Up Photographer of the Year (CUPOTY) has unveiled its winners. Esteemed judges, including Sue Bishop, David Maitland, Ross Hoddinott, and Nigel Atherton of Amateur Photographer, selected the finest minimalist photos from a pool of entrants. The independent CUPOTY Challenge, which happens in November, features a new theme annually.

Tracy Calder, CUPOTY co-founder, explains that they sought ‘Minimal’ imagery — clean, uncluttered photos with few elements. The received entries, ranging from stink bugs to plant seeds, exceeded their expectations.

From 988 submissions, the standout image was “In Her Wedding Dress” by Hungarian photographer Ferenc Kocsis. He won £300 and will have his work displayed in the winner’s gallery for a global audience. The gallery also features nine other impressive photographs, all worthy of recognition and praise.

1st Place: “In Her Wedding Dress” By Ferenc Kocsis
“This female Danube mayfly, swollen with egg clusters, flies over the Danube River in Hungary and lays its eggs close to where it was born. The larvae that live in the riverbed hatch in April, and in the last stage of their development, in August, they fly for the last dance of their one-year life.”

More: Close-Up Photographer Of The Year, Instagram

2nd Place: “Colour Study 39” By Paul Gravett
“Despite their painterly appearances, each Colour Study starts with a camera and a series of photographs of papers and colour acetates, layered three to five deep on a stack of glass shelves. The images are layered and blended in the computer to create abstractions that reference contemporary art, including pointillism, colour fields, transparencies, collage and painterly techniques. The hallmark of this experimental process is unpredictability and discovery, leading to startling and unexpected images that blur the boundary of photography and contemporary art, tricking the eye and testing our assumptions about photography.”

3rd Place: “Goose Bumps” By Stefan Gerrits
“In Varanger, Norway, a mountain hare (Lepus timidus) sits quietly in a snowstorm very close to midnight. It was a rough winter evening in the very far north of Norway, I was sitting down, and my goodness I was cold, chilled to the bone, waiting for signs of life. Thankfully, I got lucky. This hare seemed to have some form of piloerection (the equivalent of human goosebumps), which made its hair stand on end. I underexposed by 4EV and used a slow shutter speed (1/13sec) to transform the snow into flashes of light.”

Finalist: “Details Of A Rough Stink Bug” By Benjamin Salb
“I love finding hidden details within ordinary macro subjects and this rough stink bug was no exception. I encountered it while on a 4am macro hunt last autumn. It was a chilly morning and the few subjects I did find didn’t move that much, if at all. As a result, I was able to position the stick the stink bug was sitting on in the air to isolate it from the background and show off its complex details. The image was captured as a handheld focus bracket of 17 frames (combined in Helicon Focus).”

Finalist: “Shell” By Kristina Zvinakeviciute
“Shells are like little secrets of the sea. I always collect them on the seashore and this one was found on Formby Beach in the UK. I had an idea to develop the photograph of this small shell in a different way, by using the mirror effect in Photoshop (I cropped, rotated and adjusted the shot in Photoshop before using the mirror effect. A texture was then added to the background.) The result pleasantly surprised me, as it looked like wings or a heart.”

Finalist: “Murky Waters” By Lovre Culina
“This bird’s-eye view of an American crocodile was made over the Tarcoles River of Costa Rica, from a bridge. A picture like this had been in my mind’s eye for a while and, as I knew the area well, I had hoped to find a crocodile positioned perfectly in the water just under the bridge. Unfortunately, the dream composition wasn’t to be, and I had to stretch my arms out, get a shot and crop and rotate it later to get the picture I wanted. Crocodiles are ambush predators and spend most of their time being still and waiting. My aim was to depict this incredible marvel of nature in its element, while leaving the viewer slightly unsure about what is being shown.”

Finalist: “Spider” By Gabi Swart
“A spider had spun its web right in front of our attic window, allowing me to photograph it against the sky. Due to overexposing by one f-stop, it appeared almost plastic and transparent. The open aperture and the overexposure made the spider’s web disappear.”

Finalist: “Stand By” By Krisztina Mácsai
“I was walking with co-students of my photography class in the forests of Normafa, Budapest, looking for interesting macro subjects. It was autumn and the forest was full of Cyclosa spiders. I searched to find one of these orb-weavers that would allow me to photograph it at this unusual angle. I had to be very careful not to harm its web. At the time the picture was taken, I was between macro lenses, so I had to return to my tried and tested combination: the “nifty-50” with extension tubes. Once again, this set up did not disappoint me.”

Finalist: “Outer Space” By Alex Pansier
“This is not Earth from outer space, but the swirling body of an elephant seal. A few years ago, I went on a photo tour to Antarctica with a stopover in South Georgia. The beaches were teeming with fur seals and elephant seals. This particular one was so relaxed I managed to photograph it quietly with some nice backlight in low key – my favourite style.”

Finalist: “Lily Tip” By Jane Van Bostelen
“I love the beautiful trumpet-shape of the Calla Lily and wanted to create a minimal, uncluttered image with simple lines. After shooting from different angles, I found the strongest composition to be one where the tip of the petal was in focus and the rest was thrown out of focus using a shallow depth of field. I used a studio lightbox with LED lighting and a green background so that the shapes looked strong, and the colours complemented each other.”

Shortlisted: “Behind Blue Eyes” By Clement Boyer
“This Damselfly was photographed in the wild at Saint Peyronis, south-west France just after 7 am in late July.”

Shortlisted: “Marpissa Radiata” By Adrian Truchta
“This jumping spider was living in a rolled leaf near a pond. Like every jumping spider this one has huge eyes, but in this case they were an unusual blue colour.”

Shortlisted: “Ice Droplet” By Morey Gers
“This image was made on a freezing winter day in St. Louis, MO, USA, while looking for interesting ice drops on a magnolia tree in my back yard. This ice drop, showing the internal crystal formations, is only around a ¼ inch long.”

Shortlisted: “Four Comatrichia Nigra” By Andy Sands
“I found this line of four Comatrichia nigra slime moulds among several other groups on the underside of a fallen Beech branch in local woodland. It was late November and had been fairly wet so most of the underside had been covered in a white mould that I felt added to the minimal effect and colour palette. I photographed them with my Olympus OM1 camera and 60mm Macro lens plus 2 extension tubes, focus stacked from 56 images. Lighting was natural and with a clear blue sky and no leaves the reflections were very attractive. The background is just the carpet of fallen Beech leaves beyond. They were quite small, the largest around 2mm tall.”

Shortlisted: “A Ray Of Light” By Jose Luis Gigirey
“I found this small pair of Mycena sp. in a forest near my home in Covas, Ames, Spain. To isolate them from the forest environment, I shaded them with some diffusers and used a small piece of black cardboard to reflect the sunlight in order to capture that ray of sun.”

Shortlisted: “Inconspicuous” By Roman Willi
“I found this caterpillar on a nightwalk in the jungle of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica and was drawn to the way it had eaten parts of the leaf.”

Shortlisted: “Mosaic Tile” By Viola Ricci
“This image of a damselfly’s wings was captured in my garden in the Po Valley, Italy, in late summer. I had noticed something unusual going on among the oak trees that day: an elegant, shimmering flutter of wings through the air caught my eye and invited me to look up close. What I did not expect to find was a group of willow emerald damselflies effortlessly catching mosquitoes while flying around and then, once landed on the lower twigs, slowly consuming their “snacks”. Observing them during their rest, I was immediately struck by the radiant orange pterostigma standing out on the transparent wings.”

Shortlisted: “21 Grams” By Chris Manfield
“Since its invention, photography has been used alongside scientific protocols as a tool to document and quantify truth. This photograph was taken in a biological laboratory where dead animals are preserved and studied. When we look at the photograph, we are looking at a process. We think of how the pictured subject ended up in front of the camera, why, and for what purpose? The subject has been sourced ethically, and each specimen is noted whether to have died of natural causes, purchased (dead) from a shelter, farm, or a licensed taxidermist. Still… it raises the question of ethics – whether truth is validated through documentations, real-life consensus, or perhaps something else entirely.”

Shortlisted: “Gills” By Jeannet Van Der Knijff
“Last October I found this parasol mushroom during a walk in the ‘Staelduinse bos’ in ‘s Gravenzande, Netherlands. The fungus was broken, so the gills on the underside of the fungus were clearly visible. The wavy interplay of lines of the gills produced a very beautiful pattern. On one of the gills I noticed a small black dot moving. When I got home, I saw on my screen that the black dot had legs: it was a mite. With a size of less than 0.1 to 1.0 mm, these small arthropods are barely visible to the naked eye. Because of the presence of the mite on the gills, the image reminds me more of a huge maze than of the underside of a mushroom.”

Shortlisted: “Blending In” By Stefan Gerrits
“It was a cloudy day and I was walking next to an almost deserted skiing track in the North of Finland hoping to see Willow Grouse, or Rock Ptarmigans. It’s certainly not easy to spot these beautiful birds when they are in their wintery white outfits, blending perfectly into a snowy environment. This Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) however, got caught and whilst I slowly crawled forward through a thick layer of snow, I took this image and it is exactly what I had in mind.”

Shortlisted: “Sawfly Larva” By Alexis Tinker-Tsavalas

Shortlisted: “Lunaria Annua” By Ecaterina Leonte
“I watched this plant grow and bloom in a friend’s garden, transitioning from full purple blooms to one flower at the top, surrounded by translucent seed pods. I wondered if I could highlight those pods in my “studio” using a flashlight. It took several tries of backlighting those pods without showing my hands in the picture.”

Shortlisted: “Oil On Water 8” By Martin Parratt
“This image is an example from my ongoing photographic exploration of the refractive effects of oil floating on water. The project is inexpensive and eco-friendly, requiring no travel and using tiny amounts of simple materials, in keeping with the minimalist ethos. Controlling the oil can be frustrating but fun – it takes some skill and patience. The shapes and arrangement were physically real and are not digitally created. Removal of blemishes in post-processing gave the refined aesthetic.”

Shortlisted: “Point, Line And Plane” By Yicai Chang
“I spent several weekends observing the behaviour of a colony of carpenter ants in the Black Mountain Nature Reserve in Canberra. During a return visit, I was aware that they kept shuttling among the leaves of a grass tree as if they were looking for a new food source. When a carpenter ant climbed onto one of the leaves, a simple but miraculous scene came into view.”

Shortlisted: “Contrarian” By Ann Newman
“While looking for yellow in aspen fall foliage in the Sierra Mountains of California, I was instead brought to a stop (not literally) by a guardrail along the road. Looking more closely, the yellow hexagons and their beehive-like compositions caught my interest, especially as each cell had a unique pattern. I’m certain the few drivers that drove past thought I was unhinged.”

Shortlisted: “Minimal Drop” By Cesare Barillà
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, not being able to leave the house to take pictures, I created a small photographic set at home for macro photography. This shot is nothing but the enlargement of oil drops in coloured water.”

Shortlisted: “Air Plant Spiral #1” By Donald Bolak
“Photographing spiral forms in botanical subjects is an on-going project for me. This ‘giant’ air plant is a departure from the typical small plants most see. It is about 12″ tall with a mass of curled leaves going every which way (think a botanical Medusa).”

Shortlisted: “Air Tunes” By Angelo Richardson
“In May, while walking our dog just before sunset in The Netherlands, I spotted this cockchafer beetle perched on a water reed, with its antenna nicely unfolded. The antennas are used to find food or a mate – males have seven blades on each antenna and females six.”

Shortlisted: “A Springtail On A Golden Lake” By Nicolas Dupieux
“I photographed this tiny springtail in a tiny pond in my garden. In autumn, it fills up with rainwater and leaves. This wet and fresh habitat with organic matter attracts these little springtails. On sunny mornings the sun makes the wall of my home shine, reflecting in the water creating a beautiful golden colour. It’s there that I photographed this springtail, flowing softly, quietly on its small island, in the middle of a lake bathed in sunlight…”

Shortlisted: “Raph L’ascalaphe” By Rene Rouyer
“I was born in Lorraine, France and I’m very attached to this region, which is full of varied natural environments such as rivers, meadows, limestone lawns, forests and peat bogs and in which you can find small treasures such as wild orchids, a wide variety of insects but also amphibians and mammals. This dragonfly, Orthetrum abistilum, I found waiting for a bit of heat before taking flight.”

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