Saturday, April 20, 2024

Close-Up Photographer of the Year Winners Announced


Canadian photographer Samantha Stephens has won the Close-up Photographer of the Year award with her image of a pair of salamanders being consumed by a carnivorous pitcher plant in Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada.

Stephens will be awarded a £2,500/~US$3,000/~€2,832 cash prize and the Close-up Photographer of the Year (CUPOTY) trophy. Her work is displayed to a global audience in the Top 100 online gallery at

Stephens says of her photo:

“Northern Pitcher Plants normally feast on moths and flies but researchers at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station recently discovered a surprising new item on the plant’s menu: juvenile Spotted Salamanders. 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. The next day, both salamanders had sunk to the bottom of the pitcher.”

The latest CUPOTY attracted more than 9,000 entries from 54 countries. There were 11 categories:

  • Animals
  • Insects
  • Plants
  • Fungi
  • Intimate Landscape
  • Underwater
  • Butterflies & Insects
  • Invertebrate Portrait
  • Manmade
  • Micro (for images created using a microscope) and
  • Young Close-up Photographer of the Year (for entrants aged 17 or under).

While Stephens secured the title (and top spot in the Animals category), 17-year-old British photographer Nathan Benstead was crowned Young Close-up Photographer of the Year with his picture of slime moulds.

Check out the top 100 photos from the competition here.

Featured Image credit: © Samantha Stephens |

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.