Images from Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition reveal wonders of the natural world usually hidden to the human eye. The 47th annual contest celebrates a type of photography called “photomicrography,” which blends art and science. Photographers used microscopes to capture objects in stunning detail—from the shape of tiny organoids to the structure of common household items.
Some finalists boosted the natural colors of their subject with stains or fluorescence to make certain features pop or combined and layered photographs to create a final image. The collection of photographs is a vibrant, abstract journey through scientific fields like cancer research, entomology, and neuroscience.
This year, more than 1,900 entries were received from 88 countries, and 20 winners were selected. Here is a selection images from the winners:
1st Place:“Trichome and stomata on a southern live oak leaf” by Jason Kirk
3rd Place: “Rear leg, claw, and respiratory trachea of a louse (Haematopinus suis)” by Frank Reiser
4th Place: “Sensory neuron from an embryonic rat” by Paula Diaz
7th Place: “Head of a tick” by Tong Zhang and Paul Stoodley
10th Place: “Vein and scales on a butterfly wing (Morpho didius)” by Sébastien Malo
12th Place: “Breast organoid showing contractile myoepithelial cells (blue) crawling on secretory breast cells (red)” by Jakub Sumbal
13th Place: “Cotton fabric with pollen grains” by Felice Placenti
15th Place: “Diatom (Arachnoidiscus)” by Bernard Allard
18th Place: “Table salt crystal” by Saulius Gugis
20th Place: “Slime mold (Arcyria pomiformis)” by Alison Pollack
Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.