Showcasing the deep blue sea and the life within in all its beauty and complexity, photographers swam through shark-infested waters and blooms of jellyfish to get the perfect shot.
The 2021 Ocean Photography Awards winners have been revealed, putting a spotlight on themes of underwater conservation, adventure and exploration.
Taking the top prize, Aimee Jan is the Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021. The Australian photographer’s striking image of a green sea turtle was declared the ‘unanimous winner’ by the judges and trumped ‘thousands of submissions’. Meanwhile, Exeter-based photographer Henley Spiers dives into second place with his breathtaking shot of gannets off the coast of Scotland.
The judges say: ‘The Ocean Photography Awards has a simple mission: to shine a light on the beauty of the ocean and the threats it faces.’
There are seven categories in the competition, including the debut of the Female Fifty Fathoms Award, which celebrates female ocean photographers. For those hoping to get a closer look at the beautiful collection of photographs, a free outdoor exhibition on the Queen’s Walk, alongside the River Thames, will be open to the public for one month from September 17.
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Scroll down to see Film 2021 Say, Me Contro te Film Italiano : Introducing ‘Snooty’ the lemon shark, photographed off the coast of the town of Jupiter, Florida. This snapshot was plucked from French photographer Galice Hoarau’s portfolio, which is commended by judges in the Collective Portfolio category .
Hoarau is also behind this remarkable photograph, which shows a wolffish father carefully watching over his nest. It was taken in Norway’s Saltstraumen strait.
A juvenile trevally fish hides in a box jellyfish in Lembeh, Indonesia, in this intriguing picture from Hoarau’s portfolio .
A shoal of fish glide over a green turtle on a reef near Indonesia’s Selayar Island in this vibrant snapshot. Again, it was taken by Hoarau.
In this magnificent black-and-white photograph, Hoarau captured Atlantic spotted dolphins swimming upwards in unison off the coast of Bimini, Bahamas. RIGHT: Nicholas Samaras successfully captured a poignant moment in time with this image. Commended in the Conservation category, it shows a seahorse ‘cling’ to a disposable face mask near Stratoni, Greece.
Taking the lead in the Exploration category is this photograph, snared by New Yorker Martin Broen. During a trip to Mexico, he explored the natural cavern of cenote Dos Pisos in Quintana Roo. There, he documented how the light plays against the speleothems, which are geological formations of mineral deposits.
Commended in the Conservation category is this jarring image by Canadian Steven Kovacs. Showing the hazards of littering, it sees a lizardfish try to devour a cigarette filter off the coast of Florida .
Kovacs’ work is also commended in the Collective Portfolio category. One of the photographs picked out by the judges is above. It depicts a male yellowhead jawfish ‘mouthbrooding’ its eggs until they are ready to hatch. Mouthbrooding, also known as oral incubation, is when eggs are carried and incubated in the parent’s mouth. Kovacs is also behind this image, showing a rare deepwater cusk eel larva swim off the coast of Florida. It wins second place in the Exploration category .
Aussie photographer Alex Kydd turned his camera on a shiver of grey reef sharks for this chilling image. Hungry for a feed, the sharks are seen hunting and chasing a huge school of bait fish. The photograph is one of many featured in Kydd’s portfolio, which comes third in the Collective Portfolio category.