The annual micro-photography competition highlights how much of the world we don’t see — and how beautiful it is. Lying at the intersection of art and science, the Nikon Small World is a window into a world that escapes the eye — a wonderful and surprising world.
Here is a selection of some of our favorite entries.
“Microscopy lets us zoom in on the smallest organisms and building blocks that comprise our world – giving us a profound appreciation for the small things in life that far too often go unnoticed,” Kugler said in an Oct. 21 news release announcing the results of the annual contest, now in its 45th year.
Zgoda and Kugler are definitely not your average scientists. When they’re not taking awesome pictures of turtles, both women enjoy being creative — for Kugler, that means cosplay, and for Zgoda, it means photographing animals and landscapes.
The contest invites people from all around the world to submit their work. More than 2,000 entries were received across 100 countries in 2019.
All entries must be photographed using a microscope, but other than that, there are no restrictions. Many of the winning images were of biological subjects — but not all of them. Some of the submissions focused on something else.
Again, much of the competition’s focus was on biological subjects — and for good reason. We think we have a pretty good idea of what life looks like… but this is a whole new perspective
“I’m enamored with invertebrate morphology; usual evolutionary restraints don’t seem to apply within the realm of tiny animals, which is evident in the abundance and variety of often grotesque and utterly alien forms,” wrote Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, winner of the 2nd prize, to the judging committee.
This next image shows something that our bodies are probably familiar with — although we might not recognize that immediately. If you’ve ever taken a gulp of seawater, you’ve probably swallowed a bunch of Daphnia.
Some images, like the ones above, went pretty deep in the microscopic world. Others were closer to the human eye — but they still show unnerving perspectives.
You can check out all the entries here.