These Award-Winning Botanical Photos Belong in Alice in Wonderland

"Iced Nigella" blends two images of the Nigella plant, commonly known as love-in-a-mist. with polarized ice.
Photo: Dianne English
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Some photographers like to capture people; others like to capture the stories of the botanical world, from our backyards to our gardens and wildlands. That’s the premise behind the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew’s International Garden Photographer of the Year Award, whose winners were announced Friday.

This is the competition’s 12th year celebrating the wide world of plants. The winning photographs include something for everyone to appreciate, from abstract dried leaves to gardens full of lavender, the mountainous terrain of Patagonia, or squirrels in search of berries. The competition’s overall winner was Jill Welham of the United Kingdom, who shot flowering plants found alongside onions and scallions using an old, complicated photographic technique called wet cyanotype. Other winners hail from Hungary, Montenegro, and Indonesia.

“Jill’s image has proven that even old techniques are still capable of relevance, originality, and immense beauty,” said the award’s Managing Director Tyrone McGlinchey, in an emailed press release.

This year, all the categories—from botanical abstractions to gardens—include over 100 winners and finalists. We’re sharing winners of the Abstract Views category, which barely feel like images of plants at all.