Close-Up Photographer of the Year Shortlist

What is close up photography?

With different techniques, a close up photographer focuses on details but doesn’t include the larger scene. A close-up photographer uses their imagination, many times with mundane objects to show beauty that would go unnoticed.

Abstract blue and orange art


Beautiful decay art as featured in CUPOTY 2020s shortlist for Manmade World.  Pareidolia art causes the viewer to see a pattern and associate it with something common, like faces.  When I took a look at this rusty metal side of an old car, I saw an abstract pattern emerge. I clearly see two people throwing their arms up over their heads in celebration. 

“Once you start celebrating the little victories in life, you will realize just how infinite they truly are.” 

–Alicia Emamdee

Yellow lines on black background


Beautiful decay art as featured in CUPOTY 2020s shortlist for Manmade World. Classrooms used whiteboards today, but not that long ago, we had blackboards. Nostalgia has a way of weaving its story back into our lives, and now people buy special paint to create a blackboard in their home. This abstract close-up looks like lightning bolts or an interstellar space storm, when in fact, it is a close-up of the scratches on a used chalkboard.

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”

— Albert Einstein

Peeling paint art with yellow and orange.


Color and abstract expressionism art as featured in CUPOTY 2020s shortlist for Manmade World. When you see bright yellow and orange, radiating with warmth and energy, don’t you think of a sunset? The glow of happiness? What says optimism more than that?

Within the pattern of peeling paint and rust, there is an amusement of apophenia, seeing a pattern and assigning meaning. This close-u photo is a small section on a 1948 Chrysler. The car was first used by a mortuary, then in an encore career, as a car in numerous parades. All of the layers of paint are peeling, and there are endless patterns. I see a balloon being released to freely fly, a person elevating above the ground, or lava bursting up into the sky towards the sun. What do you see?

“Whoever is happy will make others happy.”

— Anne Frank

Black and white reed photo


Black and white nature photography as featured in CUPOTY 2020s shortlist for Intimate Landscapes. A symbolic interpretation of a select few reeds in a lake bent over, as though they are breaking free of constraints that the rest of the crowd follows.

“Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there.”

— Barbara Cocoran

Autumn colors and reeds in water


Healing photo art as featured in CUPOTY 2020s shortlist for Intimate Landscapes. The subtle shift from summer to autumn colors reminds us that our growth doesn’t come in a sudden transformation. Sometimes we linger with old patterns for a bit until our new thought process or behavioral pattern takes over. There is a natural ebb and flow to the seasons as well as our growth.

“Ofttimes we cannot change the entire direction of a route already set in motion. But we can do our small part to shift the path one degree at a time.”

— Jody Hedlund, “Always”

High key reed photo in black and white

“Language of Mirroring”

Intimate landscape photography as featured in CUPOTY 2020s shortlists for Intimate Landscapes. An abstract and high-key close-up of reeds and their reflection in a pond, though very similar, they have subtle differences. The form is reminiscent of calligraphy and why I used language in the title. Though you could say the reeds are mirroring each other, I also chose that word in the title because of another reason. When I photograph with others, I want to create something unique to me.  There was an impressive sunset lighting up Half Dome in Yosemite on this early evening, but there was one spot from which to photograph it and get a good mirror reflection of the mountain in the lake. I decided to look for another shot. I chose to focus on a small section of reeds, enjoying the sunset for myself. I was being true to myself and my creativity and not mirroring from someone else’s vision. 

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

— Leonardo da Vinci

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