International Garden Photographer of the Year 2020: Still Life

  • Published

Cristina Wanjura has been named winner of the Still Life category in this year's International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) competition.

A wooden stand covered in fruit in front of a painting of a ship at seaImage source, Cristina Wanjura / IGPOTY

The photographer, from Bavaria, Germany, won first place for her image entitled The Passage (above).

"[This is a] symbolic still life in the style of the great vanitas paintings of the 17th Century," said Wanjura.

"In the foreground on the right, you can see the time that has run out symbolised by the watch, and the empty, tipped-over wine glass, both symbols of death.

"On the left, I arranged earthly luxury items, which ultimately remain behind."

Head judge Tyrone McGlinchey said: "Cristina has taken the still life photography genre to new heights... to create an intriguing work, full of depth and meaning."

Wanjura won £250 in prize money, with the photograph set to feature in an exhibition at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 2021.

IGPOTY runs four stand-alone competitions that give photographers the chance to explore specific themes and skills.

Here are other winning images from the competition, with descriptions by the photographers.

Second place: Standing Tall, by Simon Schollum, from New Zealand

Image source, Simon Schollum / IGPOTY

I created this unique still life arrangement by using items gathered and foraged from my garden and then shot in my home studio.

Third place: Eau de Calla, by Jackie Kramer, from St Augustine, Florida, US

Image source, Jackie Kramer / IGPOTY

Lighting - colour, direction, refraction, and reflection - were all key in sculpting the curves of the Zantedeschia (calla lily) flower heads within the large perfume bottle.

Finalist: Rosebay Willowherb, by Bente Klevenberg, from Nordby, Norway

Image source, Bente Klevenberg / IGPOTY

I used a light painting photography technique to illuminate this vase in a dark room which contained the flowers of Chamaenerion angustifolium, commonly known as rosebay willowherb.

Finalist: Dandelions IV, by Victor Kanunnikov, from St Petersburg, Russia

Image source, Victor Kanunnikov / IGPOTY

I captured this still life of dandelions in a vase against a black background using two flashes, to create a subtle yet dramatic lighting effect.

Finalist: Rose hips and Persimmons, by Inna Karpova, from London, UK

Image source, Inna Karpova / IGPOTY

I created this original, painterly still life by combining gathered rose hips and ripe persimmon fruits to create this artistic autumnal photograph.

Finalist: Gin & Tonic, by Sue Oakford, from London, UK

Image source, Sue Oakford / IGPOTY

This image of Paeonia (peony) flowers was taken during lockdown using empty gin bottles and glassware of different shapes and sizes.

The photograph was created to reflect "the morning after the night before" with some flowers seeking the light whilst others sulk into the shadows.

Highly Commended: Heritage Tomatoes, by Simon Caplan, from Bristol, UK

Image source, Simon Caplan / IGPOTY

I used a light painting photography technique to create this classical still life scene.

The long exposure helped to highlight the antique copper pot and created a magical feel to the texture of the cloth and plump heritage tomatoes.

Highly Commended: Garden Vegetables, by Angi Wallace, from North Tyneside, UK

Image source, Angi Wallace / IGPOTY

I created this bountiful still life scene by combining fresh, seasonal vegetables with rustic vessels and a chunky wooden chopping board.

Highly Commended: Still Life with Chestnuts, Millet and Firkins, by Chandler Barrett, from Wytheville, Virginia, US

Image source, Chandler Barrett / IGPOTY

A friend lent me three firkins (casks) to add to my own and use in the shoot.

I gathered the millet from my garden and found fallen chestnuts in a nearby wood.

To complete the scene, I placed everything on a rustic, wooden farm table to accentuate the wooden quality of the elements.

Highly Commended: An Explosion of Colours, by Cristina Wanjura, from Neu-Ulm, Bavaria, Germany

Image source, Cristina Wanjura / IGPOTY

Fascinated by the colours of the Gladiolus flowers, I painted a matching background to create a highly original still life work, utilising a combination of both natural and artificial light sources.

Highly Commended: Family, by Janine Lee, from Leicestershire, UK

Image source, Janine Lee / IGPOTY

This little specimen of Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) tree was planted by me last autumn.

I found the conker on the roadside; it had rooted and it seemed a shame to leave it there. To my joy it grew.

I placed both conkers and pot plant by the kitchen window on a piece of cement board, which I had painted to look like a plank of wood and for the backdrop a piece of textured backing wallpaper completed the scene.

Highly Commended: Still Life with Blue Vase, by Victor Kanunnikov, from St Petersburg, Russia

Image source, Victor Kanunnikov / IGPOTY

I created this high key still life by photographing the subject against a white background using two flashes.

I was attracted by the contrast created between the blue vase and the ripe, red berries.

Commended: Row of Onions, by Rory Mcdonald, from RHS Tatton Park Flower Show, Cheshire, UK

Image source, Rory Mcdonald / IGPOTY

I spotted this row of prize-winning onions at RHS Tatton Park Flower show - it made for the perfect still life study.

Commended: Roses & Linen, by Sue Oakford, from London, UK

Image source, Sue Oakford / IGPOTY

These roses reminded me of my mother's garden many years ago.

When picked, their beauty starts to diminish quite rapidly and their scent gradually seeps away.

To add nostalgia, I added some of my mother's old linen napkins to capture the passing of time.

Photos are subject to copyright.