Close-up Photographer of the Year celebrates dramatic detail
The winners and finalists of the 2020 Close-up Photographer of the Year have been announced, with the top honors going to Galice Hoarau for an electrifying image of an eel larva snapped during a blackwater dive. The rest of the list highlights the seldom-seen close-up textures and details of animals, insects, plants, and the man-made world.
Now in its second year, the Close-up Photographer of the Year competition was founded in 2018 by husband-and-wife team Tracy and Daniel Calder. Designed to showcase images that provide a new perspective on the world, the competition focuses on seven different categories: animals, insects, plants and fungi, intimate landscapes, the man-made world, micro, and an award celebrating young photographers.
For the 2020 competition, French photographer Galice Hoarau claimed first place in both the Animals category and the overall competition with Eel Larva. The shot was taken during a night-time dive off the coast of Indonesia, when the rare creatures can be seen emerging from the inky black of the deep ocean.
“What makes blackwater diving so magical is the abundance of rarely seen planktonic creatures you spot as they take part in one of the largest daily migrations of any animal on Earth,” explains Hoarau. “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 down there during the day to escape predators.”
Another highlight from the collection is Glass worm, by Ukrainian photographer Andrei Savitsky. These fly larvae are commonly found in waterways, and being transparent their organs and nervous systems are on display. In this colorful image, the two spotted blobs towards the right of frame are the glassworm’s “swim bladders,” which help the insects rise and sink in the water column.
Check out the rest of the winners, runner-ups and select finalists in our gallery.
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