Catching Memories Through The Lens

Close-up of ant’s face looks like something out of a horror movie – Insider

  • Eugenijus Kavaliauskas won a prize at a Nikon competition for his photo of an ant.
  • The magnified photo shows the details of the ant’s face, from beady eyes to an orc-like jaw.
  • The competition’s top prize in the competition went to a magnified photo of a Madagascar gecko’s hand.

That’s not one of Tolkien’s orcs straight out of Middle Earth — it’s just what ants look like when you get up close and personal with them.

The snapshot of an ant’s face, magnified five times under a microscope, was submitted to the 2022 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition simply by Lithuanian wildlife photographer Eugenijus Kavaliauskas. The competition celebrates the art of microscope photography, which allows people to capture details the human eye cannot see.

Kavaliauskas’ submission was one of the 57 selected “Images of Distinction . ”

Kavaliauskas has won other photography awards for his snapshots of birds of prey, according to his portfolio.  

Kavaliauskas told Insider he lives near a forest, which made it easy for him to catch an ant.  

“But it’s boring to take a photo of an ant, running banally, on the ground, ” Kavaliauskas said. And so he put the ant under a microscope, and took pictures.  

“I’m always looking for details, shadows, and unseen corners. The main goal of photography is to be a discoverer, ” Kavaliauskas said. “I am fascinated by the Creator’s masterpieces and the opportunity to see God’s designs. ”

In response to questions about what the ant looked like under the microscope, Kavaliauskas said “there are no horrors in nature. ” 

“When I first started with microphotography, I, too, thought all beetles looked a little like monsters, ” he said. “But now, I’ve gotten used to it, and is surprised that there are so many interesting, beautiful, and unknown miracles under our feet. ” 

While striking, the image did not clinch the contest’s top prize. For his photo from the ant, Kavaliauskas won one Nikon item with a retail value of $35.

The top honor and a $3, 000 cash prize went to Grigorii Timin and Michel Milinkovitch from the University of Geneva’s department of genetics plus evolution. The duo captured a Madagascar giant day gecko’s front paw in brilliant, fluorescent detail.  

An embryonic hand of a Madagascar giant day gecko

A 69-times zoomed-in image of the hand of a Madagascar giant day time gecko, taken by two researchers from the University of Geneva.
Grigorii Timin and Michel Milinkovitch/Nikon Little World

“This particular image is beautiful and informative, as an overview and also when you magnify it in a certain region, shedding light on how the structures are usually organized on a cellular level, ” Timin said inside a Nikon news release.

The photomicrography contest is open to anyone interested in microscopy and digital photography, per Nikon . This year marked the 48th time the competition was held. The winning snaps were selected from 1, 300 entries and announced upon October 11.

The 2023 competition is now welcoming submissions, which have to be sent in for consideration before April 30, 2023.