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PRESS RELEASE – 21st May 2019

© Emanuele Biggi

© Emanuele Biggi


Close-up Photographer of the Year – Winners Announced

Emanuele Biggi, a television presenter from Italy, is the overall winner of the inaugural Close-up Photographer of the Year competition with his stunning image of a Peringuey’s adder in the Namib Desert. 

Emanuele followed the snake’s tracks in the sand before finding it under a shrub. ‘This adder is small, the diameter of each eye is about 2-3mm, so even though I knew it was there, it was still hard to spot,’ he explains. ‘It relies on camouflage to hunt and uses a sit-and-wait technique, leaving its nostrils and eyes above ground for breathing and scanning around. When prey comes near, the snake strikes and delivers a venomous bite.’

More than 3,000 photographs were entered into the competition, from 42 countries. There were five categories: Animals, Plants & fungi, Intimate landscape, Manmade and Micro (for images captured with a microscope), as well as an award for Young Close-up Photographer of the Year (Young CUPOTY).

While Emanuele took the top spot in the Animals category, biologist Henri Koskinen wowed the judges with his shot of coltsfoot seeds in the Plants & fungi category, and graphic designer Hal Gage won the Intimate Landscape category with his abstract of glacial mud. Kym Cox took the Manmade prize by mixing art and science with her bubble work, and Marek Miś triumphed in the Micro category with his mesmerising image of sugar and salt crystals under a microscope. Josiah Launstein was awarded the title Young Close-up Photographer of the Year for his beautiful shot of a monkey-moth caterpillar.

Whittling down the entries was a tough job, but expert judges Ross Hoddinott, Sue Bishop, David Maitland, Robert Thompson and Keith Wilson rose to the challenge. Tracy Calder, co-founder of the competition, said, ‘I have been blown away by the standard of entries, and genuinely moved by how positive people have been about the competition.’    

Emanuele wins the Close-up Photographer of the Year title and trophy, £1,300 cash prize, a SIGMA 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art lens, and a SIGMA sd Quattro camera.

All of the winning and shortlisted entries can be seen at

Close-up Photographer of the Year 02 opens for entries in September. To keep up to date with CUPOTY developments please visit the homepage and sign up to the newsletter.


Notes to editors

Hi-res pictures
Hi-res images are available to accompany this story. Please click the ‘See the winners’ or ‘Shortlist 01’ tab to make your selection, and email us with your choices. We will then send hi-res files and captions over ASAP.

About the competition
Founded in 2018 by photography journalists Tracy and Dan Calder, Close-up Photographer of the Year is an annual competition celebrating close-up, macro and micro photography. Its ultimate aim is to encourage photographers to slow down, enjoy their craft, and make long-lasting connections with the world around them.