- 05 October 2021
The Royal Society of Biology’s annual photography competition attracts entries from amateur photographers around the world, with more than 1600 submissions received this year for the theme “interconnected”.
The title of Photographer of the Year went to Vishwanath Birje, for his stunning image of ants feeding off honeydew excreted by a yellow aphid. The photo captures the mutualistic relationship between the ants and the aphid, with the ants providing protection from predators and pests in return for food.
Vishwanath took the photo in Thane, India. He said of receiving the award: “I am very proud to be this year’s Photographer of the Year.
“There are many magical events happening in nature around us – I was just being curious and observant. The photograph just shows such a situation between the ants, aphid and mites.”
The winner of the RSB’s Young Photographer of the Year is Roan Jones, aged 15.
Roan’s winning entry was taken on Somerset, UK, and captured a tyre being reclaimed by nature – showing the interaction between people and wider world.
Roan said of receiving his award: “I felt inspired to take the photo at a local forest in my home town because this is somewhere I often visit and know there are lots of places of interest.
“I find taking photographs relaxing as in the moment you are only focusing on one thing.”
The RSB Photography Competition has two categories: the Young Photographer of the Year category is suitable for photographers below the age of 18, with a top prize of £500, whilst the Photographer of the Year category is open to adult photographers, who can win £1000.
The competition was judged by Alice Campaign from CABI, Tim Harris from Nature Library and Bluegreen Pictures, Tom Hartman, program chair of MSc in Biological Photography and Imaging at the University of Nottingham, and Alex Hyde, freelance natural history photographer.
The announcement of the winners is part of Biology Week 2021, the annual celebration of the biosciences.
Find out more about our two winners below:
Photographer of the year
Hon Yen marine ecosystem
Photographer: Truong Hoai Vu
Location: Phu Yen, Vietnam
Every year, between May and August, the coral of this rich and diverse ecosystem becomes exposed at low tide.
Photographer: Alfonso Roldán Losada
Location: Córdoba, Spain
Bee-eaters are easily spotted birds because of their colours. They spend most of their time flying in search of insects.
Photographer: Henry Harte
Location: Borana, Kenya
In 2019, Kenya and most of East Africa had seen its worst locust outbreak in 70 years.
Varying weather due to climate change and travel and shipping restrictions have meant the outbreaks are getting larger and harder to control.
Photographer: Ripan Biswas
Location: West Bengal, India
The interaction between the jewel wasp and cockroach is anything but friendly. The jewel wasp injects venom into the cockroach’s brain, paralysing the latter. The wasp then lays an egg in the zombified cockroach.
Bite for survival
Photographer: Wei Fu
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
The tokay gecko bites back despite being held in the coils of the golden tree snake bite.
Spiderman of our body
Photographer: Chanchal Sur Chowdhury
Location: Missouri, USA
Immune cells communicate with each other to protect our body from evading foreign particles or microorganisms. Here, neutrophil cells (light blue) release web-like structures (yellow) to defend against Tuberculosis bacteria (pink).
A tiny gathering
Photographer: John Ishide Bulanadi
Location: Pampanga, Philippines
A small group of thief ants are gathered to enjoy a few drops of syrup on top of a wax apple leaf.
Solar power plant
Photographer: Gu Guanghui
Location: Zhejiang Province, China
A large group of night herons perch upon the solar power panels at dusk.
Young Photographer of the Year
Photographer: Alice Feng
The patterns in this image are of Bacillus subtilis being grown on a dextrose agar plate. The patterns form depending on the conditions of the bacteria’s environment and how bacterial cells move after coming into contact with each other.
Watering hole antics
Photographer: Hayden Wood
A pair of Grevy’s zebra drink from a watering hole.