Crawling Creatures: 16 Winning Photos Of Close-Up Photographer Of The Year ‘Minimal’ Challenge

The Close-up Photographer of the Year (CUPOTY) competition has announced the winners of its ‘Minimal’ challenge, which is decided by the CUPOTY community each year and runs separately from the annual main competition and with a different theme.

This year, it celebrates images with a minimalist style.

‘We asked photographers to show us work that fit the description of ‘minimal,’” explains Tracy Calder, co-founder of CUPOTY. “Essentially, what we were looking for were clean, uncluttered images with few elements. What we got was much more. Everything from stink bugs to tails and plant seeds were put before the judges, and each image is a beautiful example of how simplifying a scene can really enhance its message.”

CUPOTS, founded in 2018 by photojournalists Tracy and Dan Calder, the annual competition is organized in cooperation with Affinity Photo to encourage photographers to slow down, enjoy their craft and make lasting connections with the world around them through close-up, macro and micro photography.

The main competition is open to entry now. Early Bird deadline is May 31, 2023. Deadline is July 9, 2023.

Hungarian photographer Ferenc Kocsis is the overall winner of CUPOTY’s Close-up Challenge: minimal, with a beautiful image of Danube monkeys in flight (below).

“Danube flies fly some time in August for about a week, they only fly for about an hour a night,” Kochis said. “It’s important to be there at the right time.”

“This female Danube fly, swollen with clusters of eggs, flies over the Danube River in Hungary and lays her eggs near where she was born. The larvae that live in the trough hatch in April, and in the last stage of development, in August, they fly for the last dance of their one-year life.”

Third place in the competition went to this mountain rabbit sitting at midnight during a snowstorm in Norway. “It was a harsh winter’s evening in the far north of the country and, my God, I was frozen to the bone, waiting for signs of life,” said Stefan Gerits. “This rabbit seemed to get goosebumps which made his hair stand on end.”

“The spider spun its web right in front of our attic window, which allowed me to photograph it in the sky,” said Gabi Swart. “Because of the overexposure, it looks almost plastic and translucent while the spider web is gone.'”

“I love finding hidden details within ordinary macro subjects and this gross stink bug was no exception,” said Benjamin Salb. “I ran into him while I was out at 4 a.m. hunting last fall. It was a chilly morning and the few subjects I found weren’t moving that much. 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 its intricate detail.”

“I found a colony of carpenter ants in Canberra’s Black Mountain Nature Reserve,” Yicai Chang said. “They were constantly moving among the leaves of the grass tree as if they were looking for a new source of food. When an ant climbed onto one of the leaves, this simple but wondrous sight appeared. The ant, the leaves and the focal plane seem to be a fraction of the time. This fits perfectly with the theme I wanted to express: the connection between nature and the universe.”

“This is not Earth from space, but the swirling body of an elephant seal,” said Alex Pansier. “A few years ago I went on a photo tour to Antarctica with a stop in South Georgia. The beaches were teeming with fur seals and elephants. This particular one was so relaxed that I was able to shoot it quietly with some nice low-key backlighting – my favorite style.”

“I love the beautiful shape of the trumpet lily and wanted to create a minimal, uncluttered image with simple lines,” said Jane van Bostelen. “I found that the strongest composition was one where the tip of the petal was in focus and the rest was thrown out of focus using a shallow depth of field.”

“Walking with the students of my photography class in the forests of Normafe in Budapest, during the fall looking for interesting macro subjects, I noticed that the forest is full of Cyclos spiders,” said Krisztina Macsai. “I was looking to find one of these orb weavers that would allow me to photograph it at this unusual angle.”

“This bird’s-eye view of the American crocodile was taken across the Tarcoles River in Costa Rica, from a bridge,” said Lovre Culina. “Crocodiles are ambush predators and spend most of their time lying still and waiting. My goal was to portray this incredible natural wonder in its element, leaving the viewer a little unsure of what is being shown.”

Despite their painterly appearance, each color study begins with a camera and a series of color paper and acetate photographs, arranged three to five deep on a stack of glass shelves.

“The images are layered and stitched together in the computer to create abstractions that refer to contemporary art, including pointillism, color fields, transparencies, collage and painterly techniques,” said Paul Gravett. “The hallmark of this experimental process is unpredictability and discovery, leading to stunning and unexpected images that blur the boundaries between photography and contemporary art, trick the eye and test our assumptions about photography.”

All finalists here.

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Forbes – Lifestyle

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