20 Mind-Blowing Images from the Nikon Small World Photo Contest

If you’ve never heard of the Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition, you’ve been missing out. Now in its 43rd year, the competition celebrates the best photography from the niche world of ultra micro and this year’s winners have been announced.

Most entries come from the science or medical worlds and this year’s winner was Dr. Bram van den Broek of The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI). Bram took first place for his photo of a skin cell expressing an excessive amount of keratin. Though beautiful and abstract in its nature, the doctor came across this skin cell while researching the dynamics of keratin filaments. “What I most enjoy about this competition is that a larger audience can appreciate the beautiful complexity and diversity of the world unseen by the naked eye,” said van den Broek.

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1 – Dr. Bram van den Broek’s image of immortalized human skin cells.

The competition received thousands of entries from 88 different countries and images were assessed by a team of judges, including university doctors, researchers and journalists. As part of Nikon’s 100th anniversary celebration, the winners of the 2017 competition received a trip to Tokyo in Japan to visit Nikon’s headquarters.

So, let’s take a look at the rest of the top 20 images selected by the judges…


2 – Dr. Havi Sarfatyi’s amazing shot of a flower head.


3 – Jean-Marc Babalian’s photo of algae looks like Pac-Man.


4 – Teresa Zgoda’s close-up of a tapeworm is just plain scary.


5 – Dean Lerman’s shot of mold on a tomato was achieve with focus stacking.


6 – Dr. David A. Johnston’s photo of lily pollen was magnified 63 times.


7 – Dr. Ryo Egawa’s frame of tissue shows a beautiful range of colours.


8 – Dr. Michael Perny’s hair cells (green) and spiral ganglion neurons (red) shot catches the eye.


9 – Catarina Moura’s close up image of tissue resembles a Christmas tree.


10 – Dr. Csaba Pintér captures the instinctful behaviour of two weevils.


11 – Steven Simon’s stunning abstract is actually the plastic fracturing on credit card hologram


12 – Charles Krebs captured a Daddy Longlegs eye at 20x magnification.


13 – Levon Biss’ profile of a orchid cuckoo bee is stunning.


14 – David Millard’ captured shot of a Common Mestra butterfly’s eggs.


15 – Dr. Rick Adams’ image of a fruit bat brings Halloween vibes.


16 – Marek Miś’ frame of a down feather is a sea of colour.


17 – Harald K. Andersen’s image shows human hair in a whole new light.


18 – Christian Gautier’s frame of sea-cucumber skin resembles a sea of anchors.


19 – Dr. Dylan Burnette’s photo of an embryonic body wall was magnified 100 times.


20 – Tracy Scott’s beautiful frame looks like flowers below a sunset but is actually fungus from soil.