The fascinating — and slightly creepy — winners of the first-ever Bug Photographer of the Year awards

James Fisher celebrates some of the finest images hailed by judges at the Luminar Bug Photography Awards.

Although creepy crawlies may not be loved by everyone (certainly not by me), they do know how to pose for a photograph — as proven by the inaugural Luminar Bug Photography Awards.

Mofeed Abu Shalwa from Saudi Arabia won the title ‘Luminar Bug Photographer of the Year 2020’, thanks to his image of the intimidating red palm weevil.

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Congratulations to the Luminar Bug Photographer of the Year 2020 – Mofeed Abu Shalwar ( @mofeed.abu.shalwa ).  . Mofeed, from Saudi Arabia, is the grand prize winner in this inaugural year of the Luminar Bug Photography Awards. He wowed the judging panel with his consistently high level of technical skill and creativity, and an obvious dedication to his craft. He is a professional photographer with a specialism in macro photography, and started shooting insects 10 years ago. This was partly to help him overcome a childhood phobia of insects, and also to show the beauty and tiny details of insects that a camera lens can bring to light. . @skylum_global @buglife_ict . #winner  #prizewinner #macro #macrophotography #macronature #macroinsect #macroworld #instamacro #macrogrammers #soulmademacro #insectguru #insectworld #bugsofinstagram #insectmacro #insects #bugphotography #insect #entomology #macromood #macro_spotlight #macrofreaks #kings_macro #bugs #bugstagram #bugawards

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The UK’s Jamie Spensley won the ‘Young Bug Photographer’ title for his Carder Bee.

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Congratulations to the Luminar Young Bug Photographer of the Year 2020 – Jamie Spensley!  . 17 year-old Jamie comes from Solihull in the UK, and is studying Creative Media at college. He has a passion for shooting macro, and won with this stunning shot of a carder bee. As he explains “because it was shot handheld, focus stacking was a nightmare. I couldn’t do it automatically, so had to mask out all of the out-of-focus areas in each of the forty-one images that I used. I was very happy with the result.” . Click the link in bio to see more winning images, including more incredible shots by Jamie.  . #photoawards #winner #competitionwinner #photographeroftheyear #macro #macrophotography #macronature #macroinsect #macroworld #instamacro #macrogrammers #soulmademacro #insectguru #insectworld #bugsofinstagram #insectmacro #insects #bugphotography #insect #entomology #macromood #macro_spotlight #macrofreaks #kings_macro #bugs #bugstagram #beesofinstagram #bee . @skylum_global @buglife_ict

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Mofeed began photographing invertebrates as a way of overcoming his phobia of insects — a fear, it seems, he has comfortably beaten. 17-year-old Jamie, meanwhile, hails from Solihull and is in his second year at college studying creative media. They took home £4,500 and £1,200 worth of prizes, respectively.

More than 5,000 images were submitted from around the world and there were many worthy category winners, such as Christian Brockes’s photograph of an acorn weevil, titled 3… 2… 1… Take Off!, which won the Beetles category.

© Christian Brockes via Bug Photographer of the Year

Peter Orr’s Three Mayfly on Crested Dogstail — pictured at the top of the page — took home the prize in the Flies, Bees, Wasps and Dragonflies section.

The competition was launched as a way of celebrating invertebrate photography, as well as raising awareness of the plight of so many invertebrate species. The awards raised funds for the Buglife charity and the judging panel included Germaine Greer, president of Buglife, naturalist Nick Baker and photographer Levon Biss.

To see the winners, runners-up and highly commended entries, visit the website at