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Close-up Photographer of the Year 04 announces winners

Posted on Jan 18, 2023

The close-up, macro and micro photography competition, now in its fourth year, celebrates “the details most people overlook”

Close-up Photographer of the Year (CUPOTY) named Samantha Stephens the 04 winner, with her awe-inspiring image of a carnivorous pitcher plant consuming two salamanders. The photo, which she captured in the Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada, earns her a £2,500 cash prize, the CUPOTY trophy, and her work publicly displayed in the Top 100 online gallery.

A pair of spotted salamanders consumed by a carnivorous pitcher plant | ‘Nature’s Pitfall’ © Samantha Stephens, Close-up Photographer of the Year and ‘Animals’ Winner

Stephens explained that while Northern Pitcher Plants generally feast on insects, Spotted Salamanders are also on their menu. “While following researchers on their daily surveys I saw a pitcher with two salamanders floating at the surface of the pitcher’s fluid, both at the same stage of decay. I knew it was a special and fleeting moment,” she said.

CUPOTY, supported by Affinity Photo 2, showcases photography from creatives around the world. This year, the competition attracted over 9,000 submissions from photographers in 54 countries, with entries across 11 categories.

Category winners

CUPOTY recognises excellence in the following categories: Animals, Insects, Plants, Fungi, Intimate Landscape, Underwater, Butterflies & Dragonflies, Invertebrate Portrait, Manmade, Micro and Young Close-up Photographer of the Year (17 and under).

Stephens’ photo secured her the grand title, as well as first place in the Animals category, whilst 17-year-old Nathan Benstead won Young CUPOTY 04 for his image of slime mould sporangia in his local woodlands.

A rotting log covered in sporangia | ‘Hemitrichia Calyculata’ © Nathan Benstead, Young Close-up Photographer of the Year

Other winners include Anirban Dutta (Insects), Sébastien Blomme (Plants), Barry Webb (Fungi), Viktor Lyagushkin (Underwater), Wim Vooijs (Butterflies & Dragonflies), Jamie Hall (Invertebrate Portrait), Mike Curry (Intimate Landscape), Matt Vacca (Manmade) and Marek Miś (Micro).

Serving on CUPOTY 04’s jury were most recent Wildlife Photographer of the Year Karine Aigner and Amateur Photographer editor Nigel Atherton, among 16 others.

To receive news and other details about the competition, visit the CUPOTY website or sign up for the newsletter.

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