Overall World Oceans Day Theme Winner (2016): Beth Watson (USA)
The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life. They power our climate and they are a critical part of the biosphere. In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, as from 2009, June 8 would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day” (resolution 63/111, paragraph 171). The UN designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans—and be part of the solutions.
World Oceans Day encourages you to make a difference in your life, community, and world by taking action to protect our ocean—for present and future generations. Despite the huge challenges facing the world’s ocean, by working together we can achieve a healthy ocean that provides for the billions of humans, plants and animals which depend on it every day.
For the fourth year running, you can share the beauty and importance of the ocean through your photographs!
Photography is a powerful medium of expression that can be used to communicate strong positive messages about subjects of major importance. This open and free photo competition seeks to inspire the creation and dissemination of such positive imagery, which conveys the beauty and importance of the ocean and humankind’s relation to it.
The photo competition has five thematic categories open for photographic submissions:
- Underwater Seascapes
- Underwater Life
- Above Water Seascapes
- Human Interaction: Making a Difference
- Youth: open category, any image of the ocean—below or above the surface (photographed by a person under 16 years of age as of 1 April 2017)
Entries must portray a positive theme and be submitted electronically in accordance with the contest guidelines and subject to the contest rules.
The competition is now closed.
Winning images will be recognized at the United Nations on Wednesday, 8 June 2017 during the United Nations event marking World Oceans Day 2017, which coincides with the high-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (the Ocean Conference), which will be held from 5 to 9 June. The winners of the contest will be announced during the World Ocean Day celebratory session of the Ocean Conference on 8 June in the morning.
Winning images and finalists will form part of an information exhibit in which the photos will be paired with narratives explaining the importance of the oceans to humanity and relating humankind’s positive relationship with the ocean.
Recognition and diffusion of the winning images and finalists will be widely exposed throughout the contest websites, the media and the informational materials related to subsequent competitions. Winning photos have been printed for exhibitions around the world. Last year, one winning photo was also selected to be used as the cover of the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment.
- The contest is open to entrants of all skill levels.
- Photo contest staff and judges are not allowed to enter the contest.
- Winners will be announced on June 8, 2017 in New York, on the occasion of the marking of 2017 World Oceans Day at the United Nations, and published on www.un.org/Depts/los/wod/photo-contest.html shortly afterwards.
- Entries may have been taken from any camera, film (as scanned slides) or digital.
- Conservation rules will be strictly observed. Flora and fauna should never be stressed or endangered for the sake of a photo. Entries suspected of exhibiting the following behavior will be disqualified:
- Photographers visibly damaging the environment (e.g., gear dragging or kicking up sand)
- Animals with signs of stress (e.g., puffed puffers, inking octopus)
- Animals moved to an unnatural environment or risky location
- Marine life being touched or placed (e.g., nudibranchs, coral polyps, seahorse tails)
- Divers exhibiting poor buoyancy control
- Images that have won or placed in photo contests with winning entries announced before 1 December 2016 may not be submitted. Any single image that was part of a portfolio, but did not place as a single image, is eligible to be entered. A winning image is defined as follows:
- Any image that has placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a major photography contest (to be determined subjectively by judges)
- Any image that has placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in any photo of the year-type contest. Photos of the day, week, or month are fine
- Photographers retain all copyrights to their images. The organizers of World Oceans Day Photo Contest retain the right to publish the contest entries in any format to congratulate or feature the winners and their respective images, and to promote future World Oceans Day events, as well as for awareness-raising purposes for the work of the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. Winning images will be included in a press release for third party websites and publications in the context of congratulating and/or featuring the winners and winning images, and to promote future World Oceans Day events. Strict guidelines requiring photo credit and specific one-time press release usage are issued along with the press release.
Note on photo manipulation: Post processing images is allowed. This includes global adjustments to exposure, contrast, burning, dodging, cropping, sharpening, noise reduction, and tone. Minor cleaning of images is permitted, including the removal of backscatter, dust and scratches. HDR, panoramas, focus stacking or other techniques that involve using multiple images taken at the same time and place are also allowed.
Adding, removing or moving animals, people, plants or other objects is not allowed. For example, moving a fish, removing a reef element or adding a glow to a divers torch is not acceptable.
While digital manipulation is permitted, please keep in mind this not a Photoshop competition. All images should accurately represent the subject matter and nature. Images that appear to be overly processed may be disqualified at the judges’ discretion.
Photo Submission Guidelines
- Entries must be saved in JPEG format and should be sized to be between 2,000 and 6,000 pixels in the longest dimension. Please limit your images to a maximum file size of 5,000KB (5MB). Images will be viewed on a large monitor and should be in the AdobeRGB 1998 or sRGB color space.
- One image can be uploaded only into one category.
Note: Entrants should retain high-resolution and RAW files, if applicable, of their submissions. In the event your submission is selected as a finalist or winner, you will be asked to submit a high-resolution image for printing and display, and, if applicable, a RAW image to check if adjustments made to the image comply with the rules.
Underwater Life – Winner (2016)
Gregory Lecoeur (France)
If your organization would be interested in supporting the Annual World Oceans Day Photo Contest please contact us here.
- Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations: Within the United Nations, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, (“DOALOS”) serves as the secretariat of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement. It also assists the General Assembly of the United Nations in its policy-making role in relation to oceans and the law of the sea, among many other functions. DOALOS also assists the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel in his role as Focal Point for UN-Oceans. In these capacities, DOALOS coordinates United Nations activities relating to World Oceans Day, and seeks to raise awareness about the role the United Nations and international law can play in the sustainable development and use of the oceans and their living and non-living resources.
- The Ocean Project inspires action to protect our ocean with their network of approximately 2,000 partner zoos, aquariums, museums (ZAMs) and other conservation organizations—the largest ever developed. They empower their partners with cutting-edge communications research, tools, and related strategic resources, including grants that help ZAMs capture people’s imaginations, create more engaged citizens and communities, and result in a significant impact.
- World Ocean Network is a network of 500 members including natural history museums, aquaria, and foundations, who collectively reach an audience of 600 million individuals per year in 60 States. Through its membership, it brings together the worlds of politics, science, public administration and the media, and is in a very good position to raise awareness, inform and mobilise citizens on the issue of ocean preservation.
- DivePhotoGuide (DPG) is a comprehensive underwater photography and videography resource and award-winning website for photographers and videographers of all levels. DPG has a community of over 50,000 underwater photographers and videographers from around the globe. Several times each year DPG also hosts underwater photography expeditions.
- World Festival of Underwater Pictures is an artistic, cultural and scientific event which aims to promote better management of the sea and oceans. The World Festival of Underwater Pictures offers underwater movies, photographs, seminars, events and more.
- IAEA OA-ICC: The Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) is an IAEA “Peaceful Uses Initiative” (PUI) project based at the IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco. The OA-ICC acts as a hub to promote and facilitate global actions on ocean acidification in three overall areas: science, capacity building and communication.
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