See the Winners of the International Garden Photographer of the Year’s Macro Competition

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By Rozalia Jovanovic

Zhang Ye Fei, ‘Shepherd’s Purse Seed.’ Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year.

The International Garden Photographer of the Year has selected the winners of its macro competition, showcasing some of the best close-up botanical photography you’ll see this year. Winning first place was Bruno Militelli for his black-and-white work “Botanic Loop.” Coming in Second was Anne McIntyre’s colorful abstract “Mountains of Tulip Petals.” Third place was Zhang Ye Fei’s “Shepherd’s Purse Seed.”

Militelli will receive £500 and, depending on the COVID pandemic, will be featured in the flagship exhibition at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 2021.

Corresponding with the announcement, the annual IGPOTY exhibition kicks off August 28 at Cannon Hall Museum Park & Garden, a spectacular 17th century hall surrounded by 70 acres of immaculate gardens.

International Garden Photographer of the Year
Anne MacIntyre, “Mountains of Tulip Petals.”

Now in its thirteenth year, the show features photographs of everything plant and flower-related from garden scenes to close-ups of horticultural specimens, including the winners and finalists of the competition, which was divided into the categories “Black and White” and “Macro Art.”

Started by a group of professional garden photographers, the event is now one of top competitions and exhibitions for garden and botanical photography. And this is the first time the show will be displayed in an outdoor space.

Run in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom, the main exhibition is held annually at Kew, with a rolling program of touring shows throughout the UK, Éire and other locations around the world. Blenheim Palace and Blarney Castle & Gardens are other hosts for the touring exhibition.

Anne McIntyre, ‘Ethereal Cosmos,’ which won first place in the Black and White competition.

To celebrate the arrival of the exhibition at Cannon Hall, the museum teamed up with IGPOTY to create the ‘Beautiful Barnsley’ competition, which celebrates exquisite green spaces in the borough of Barnsley. The winner of the special award this year is Kyle Parr.

“I captured this timeless photograph in the early evening, overlooking farmland in the village of Dodworth near the Trans Pennine Trail,” said Parr whose image, ‘Evening Fields,’ won first place.

The winner in the Black and White category is Anne McIntyre for ‘Ethereal Cosmos.’ Bruno Militelli won in the Macro Art category for his work ‘Botanic Loop.’

Following is a selection of work from the IGPOTY exhibition with a quote about the work from each of the photographers. Enjoy!

Barbora Polivkova, ‘Posing’

Location: Rainforest, Costa Rica

Quote: “I spotted this tiny glass frog on a flower in the rainforest, which looked like it was posing.”

Bruno Militelli, ‘Vortex Blossom’

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Quote: “For this macro photograph of an Abutilon flower, I used a frontal perspective to capture the beauty of the perfect.”

Ecaterina Leonte, ‘Rainbow Lily’

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Quote: “Like many photographers I initially struggled to be creative during the COVID-19 lockdown. I convinced myself that home confinement was incompatible with a creative life but as the weeks went by I proved myself wrong. I used a prism and the sunny days of spring to look at flowers under (literally) a different light.”


Ingeborg Hartgerink-Grandia, ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’

Location: Hoogerheide, North Brabant, Netherlands

Quote: “I received a bouquet with all sorts of Allium flowers in it, including two leek flower buds. One of these flower buds burst open leaving its ‘hat’ on and I just had to capture it like that. The bouquet was in front of our chimney, the slightly stained-looking background is the marble stone of the chimney. I lightened the background and gave the image a slightly brighter vignette to keep the attention on the flower bud; I wanted to achieve a botanical feel to the image.”


Marie Phelan, ‘Camassia after the Rain’

Location: Studio, Ireland

Quote: “To create this artistic photograph, I first used a normal glass-fronted photo frame and placed it on a glass-topped table. Into this I splashed some water and oil, and touches of watercolour paint and under the table I put one of my hand painted backgrounds. I then positioned a glass bowl with a blue rim on top of the background. I did this to offer a shape to echo the curve of the flower, then I carefully placed the rain-drenched Camassia onto the photo frame ‘dish’.”

Tony North, ‘Common Blues on Apple Mint’

Location: Hoe Grange Quarry Butterfly Nature Reserve, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom

Quote: “I photographed these two Polyommatus icarus (common blue) butterflies at rest on this Mentha (apple mint) flower head in Derbyshire’s first dedicated butterfly nature reserve.”

Wei Fu, ‘Jewels’

Location: King Rama IX Park, Bangkok, Thailand

Quote: “I spotted this tiny scene and used my macro lens to photograph this jewel bug (metallic shield bug) exploring an open seed pod.”

Zhang Ye Fei, ‘Shepherd’s Purse Seed’

Location: Jiangyin, Jiangsu, China

Quote: Although classified as a common annual weed, I used a macro lens to reveal the delicate beauty of Capsella bursa-pastoris seed pods—known commonly as shepherd’s purse. Being part of the Brassica family, its seeds are edible and are consumed across Asia.

Bruno Militelli, ‘Botanic Loop’

Bruno Militelli, ‘Botanic Loop’

Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Quote: “The spiral-shaped filiform structure of the Passiflora (passion fruit) tendrils are an important specialised botanic feature. They are used by climbers like claws to affix themselves for support and provide a stable place to grow and flower.”