DPG is very pleased to announce the winners and finalists of the Eighth Annual United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition, jointly organized by the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea Office of Legal Affairs, Oceanic Global, Blancpain and DPG. The judges were tasked with selecting 1st, 2nd and 3rd place images from hundreds of entries in six categories.
Congratulations to the category winners, Renee Capozzola (“The Ocean: Life & Livelihoods”), Pawel Zygmunt (“Above Water Seascapes”), Nur Tucker (“Underwater Seascapes”), Francisco Sedano (“Digital Ocean Photo Art”), Sayaka Ichinoseki (“Faces of the Sea”), and Tom St George (“Oceanic Discoveries”); and to all the runners-up.
The winners were announced by the judges during today’s UN World Oceans Day 2021 Virtual Event. Finalists’ images will be further featured in a UN virtual exhibit, and physical exhibits are also planned as part of the UN’s awareness-raising activities.
The contest partners would like to thank competition curator Ellen Cuylaerts and this year’s judges—Jennifer Hayes, Julian Lennon, Joakim Odelberg, Ipah Uid Lynn, and Michel Strogoff. The organizers congratulate all of the winners again and would like to thank everyone who participated. Thank you for sharing your work, and helping us convey the beauty, fragility and value of the oceans.
© Renee Capozzola (USA). The Ocean: Life & Livelihoods – Winner
Two local Indonesian fishermen paddle in a traditional canoe along a shallow coral reef looking for a good place to put down their lines. These fishermen are practicing handline fishing, a type of sustainable fishing without poles or nets. Adonara Island, Flores, Indonesia
© Jacopo Brunetti (Italy). The Ocean: Life & Livelihoods – 2nd Place
A striped marlin chases sardines during their annual migration in Magdalena Bay. Puerto San Carlos, Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico
© Henley Spiers (UK). The Ocean: Life & Livelihoods – 3rd Place
Living in harmony with his local waters, David's life and passion revolves around the rhythms of the ocean. He hunts from large shoals of yellowfin tuna using a speargun, taking only what he needs. Offshore Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica
© Víctor Núñez (Spain). The Ocean: Life & Livelihoods – Honorable Mention
Known as the blue dragon, Glaucus atlanticus is a pelagic mollusk that feeds on jellyfish, thereby acquiring their color and their venom. It lives in the open sea, and on certain occasions, the tides and the wind bring it to the coast, as in this case, to Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, together with some white plastic. Tenerife, Canary Islands
© Pawel Zygmunt (Poland). Above Water Seascapes — Winner
Visiting epic Kallur cliff on Kalsoy Island is always a great experience. This time, I had a bit of snow on the hills and the weather was very challenging. On the way up, I was bombed by a hailstorm and pushed around by the strong wind. I was lucky to get to the lighthouse on time and hide behind it. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fully experience this place but the wind dropped a bit and I was more or less safe. I took a few shots from the usual spots and then flew my drone, which wasn't easy in the wind and to be honest a bit risky. I managed to capture Kalsoy Island from a slightly different perspective. In the background are the islands of Kunoy and Vidoy. Kallur, Kalsoy Island, Faroe Islands
© Christophe Mason-Parker (UK). Above Water Seascapes — 2nd Place
An aerial view of Passe Dubois, bisecting the islets of Ilot Emili and Ilot Yangue, part of the west channels of the Aldabra Atoll. The channel is one of many that combine to fill and drain the vast lagoon of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Seychelles. Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles
© Rafael Fernandez Caballero (Spain). Above Water Seascapes — 3rd Place
An aerial picture of a blue whale, the biggest animal that has ever existed, taken close to Cerralvo Island in Baja California Sur, Mexico. We were sailing in the open sea when we saw a whale far away. The sea was flat and the conditions were perfect. When we realized that it was a blue whale everyone on the boat was really excited. It was amazing to share a long period with the huge animal, which was completely at ease that day. Cerralvo Island, Baja California Sur, Mexico
© Matthew Meier (USA). Above Water Seascapes — Honorable Mention
A California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) pup scratches its chin with its rear flipper while basking in the early morning sunlight. The pup was warming up on the rocky shoreline after a recent swim in the cold water, as waves from the Pacific Ocean crashed in the background. La Jolla, California, USA
© Nur Tucker (UK). Underwater Seascapes — Winner
I spent a week in Los Islotes photographing lively and playful sea lions. This shot, which is taken in natural light, shows is a pup playing in a cave. Los Islotes, La Paz, Mexico
© Marchione Giacomo (Italy). Underwater Seascapes — 2nd Place
The reefs of this area are inhabited by thousands of sardines that form immense shoals, large enough to obscure the sun, much like clouds during a thunderstorm. This impressive spectacle offered by Mother Nature leaves the observer speechless. Moalboal, Cebu Island, Philippines
© Kevin De Vree (Belgium). Underwater Seascapes — 3rd Place
As light pierces through the trees, mystical sunbeams surround a brightly colored gorgonian sea fan, creating a magical, surreal underwater forest, teeming with life and color. The photo highlights the beauty and importance of coral reefs as the underwater forests of our planet. Dampier Strait, West Papua, Indonesia
© Francisco Sedano (Spain). Digital Ocean Photo Art – Winner
In the famous Disney movie Aladdin, the Cave of Wonders is a hidden cavern filled with all sort of riches and magical artifacts that are guarded by a lion's head. This work is similar, but the cave is guarded by a moray eel and filled with precious species. The capacity of underwater caves to harbor rich communities has granted them an important status as biodiversity reservoirs. This has been recognized by the European Union, which considers marine caves as priority habitats requiring protection. The work is a composite of three images that were taken in the Mediterranean Sea.
© Brett Stanley (Australia). Digital Ocean Photo Art — 2nd Place
A conceptual look at the blindness consumers have when it comes to plastics, and their effect on the oceans—blindly buying goods and wish-cycling them in the hopes of allaying their own guilt. Concept/Model: Christine Ren. San Francisco, USA
© Renata Romeo (Italy). Digital Ocean Photo Art — 3rd Place
The model's passion and love for the sea are rendered through the integration of different photographic components and chromatic contrasts blended with the water element. The image features anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), soft coral (Dendronephthya spp), and organ pipe coral (Tubipora musica). Shark Reef, Ras Mohammad National Park, Egypt
© Sayaka Ichinoseki (Japan). Faces of the Sea – Winner
A two-square-meter veil of eggs, each about 2mm in size, just prior to hatching. The eggs were very tiny and immature, so I can't say for sure, but they are most likely yellow goosefish eggs. The babies rotated inside the eggs as the veil rippled in the current. Hokkaido, Japan
© Sam Briggs (USA). Faces of the Sea — 2nd Place
A curious little Ampithoe lacertosa amphipod stares out from its tube-dwelling constructed of folded sea lettuce and amphipod silk. Over the years, I have found some of the biggest personalities come in the smallest of packages. I love the charismatic megafauna just as much as the next person, but there is just something about the little creatures of the sea that really captivate me. Bodega Bay, California, USA
© Evans Baudin (USA). Faces of the Sea — 3rd Place
A shortfin mako shark at sunset in the clear blue waters off the coast of Baja California. It is absolutely fascinating to observe pelagic species that have probably never seen a human before. Who is watching whom? Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico
© Tom St George (UK). Oceanic Discoveries — Winner
A cave-diver glides effortlessly through a beautifully decorated underground chamber. The underwater cave systems of the Yucatán Peninsula are renowned for their incredible beauty and crystal-clear waters. These underground rivers that wind their way to the ocean are facing increasing pressure from pollution and the over-extraction of water. Sistema Aktun Hu, Tulum, Mexico
© Hannes Klostermann (Germany). Oceanic Discoveries — 2nd Place
A school of skipjack tuna preys on a sardine baitball. Due to the relatively large size of the prey, the tuna end up ripping apart any sardines they catch, with multiple individuals each taking a chunk. This image also shows the skipjack's vertical stripes, which are only visible while hunting. Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico
© Sirachai Arunrugstichai (Thailand). Oceanic Discoveries — 3rd Place
A diver investigates the skeletal remains of a Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) in its watery grave on a vast empty seafloor. However, the cause of death of the whale cannot be determined due to the deteriorated condition of the carcass. Koh Haa Island, Mu Koh Lanta National Park, Krabi, Thailand
Photography is a powerful medium to convey a feeling or a message. This open and free photo competition seeks to inspire the creation of imagery capturing the beauty, the challenges and the importance of the ocean and humankind’s relation to it, hoping to contribute to actions to preserve this vital resource.
The photo competition has six thematic categories open for submissions:
Winning images will be recognized at the United Nations on June 8th during the United Nations' event marking World Oceans Day 2021. 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.
Entries must be submitted electronically in accordance with the contest guidelines and subject to the contest rules.
All entries must be submitted by April 30th, 2021 at 12 midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST).
© Leighton Lum (USA), Rejuvenation — Winner (2020)
I, working in the underwater realm, commit myself to the following code of ethics and bringing education and awareness around my encounters, to help preserve our oceans and blue planet!
© Michael Gallagher (UK), Underwater Life — Winner (2020)
Note on photo manipulation (applicable to all categories except “Digital Ocean Photo Art”): 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.
© Francisco Sedano (Spain), Digital Ocean Photo Art — Winner (2020)
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.
Jennifer Hayes is an aquatic biologist and photojournalist specializing in natural history and ocean environments from the tropics to the polar regions. Jennifer is a contributing photographer, author and speaker for National Geographic Partners and visiting professor of marine ecology, State University of New York.
Jennifer’s passion for the study and conservation of sharks and sturgeons led to graduate degrees in zoology and marine biology. She is an award-winning essayist, photographer, author of numerous publications and books on marine environments, and recipient of the Presidential Award for Environmental Education. Her work has been featured on CNN, ABC Good Morning America, National Geographic TV, Wild, and Disney Channel. She is a trustee of the Shark Research Institute, Explorer Club Fellow, Contributing Editor for Ocean Geographic magazine, and Principal for Elysium Artists for Antarctic, Arctic and Coral Triangle Expeditions.
Jennifer’s National Geographic works-in-progress include reportage of UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites focusing on “Coral Through the Lens of Time” and multiple-year collaboration to document harp seals in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence as a face of climate change. She is a strong advocate of collaboration and giving a voice and platform to #NextGeneration ocean.
Julian Lennon has always felt that he has observed life differently, perhaps because his path through life has been so unusual. Nothing could be more apparent, as he reveals to the viewer his keen eye for composition and his gift for capturing an intimate moment. Julian seeks to depict his personal journey as an artist in the midst of unique life experiences.
Born in Liverpool, England, Julian began his artistic trajectory at a young age with an inherent gift for playing musical instruments. Those abilities would soon broaden into the cinematic and visual arts. As an observer of life in all its forms, Julian developed his personal expression through such mediums as music, documentary filmmaking, philanthropy, and now photography. “Timeless,” his first photo exhibition, staged in Manhattan in September 2010, debuted Julian’s considerable talents behind the camera, as seen in photographs of U2 and his painterly landscapes. Since then, he has had multiple exhibitions throughout the world, his most recent being “Horizon,” which reconciled photography with philanthropy, the results of a Charity: Water and White Feather Foundation initiative, bringing critically needed clean drinking water to parts of Africa. During his travels through Kenya, Ethiopia, South America and beyond, Julian captured a wide variety of images with the intention of inspiring viewers to learn about unique indigenous cultures, meanwhile raising awareness of their plights.
Empathy, notes Julian, is the bond that unites the planet. He offers, “We are all in this together, and hopefully someday, the world will realize that… Photography is one way to share, learn, appreciate, and experience other cultures, which in turn allows us to empathize with other people’s lives…”
Joakim Odelberg is one of the most contracted and respected conservation photojournalists, producers, and underwater filmmakers in Sweden. His devotion to conservation, both on land and at sea, has taken him far beyond national borders.
As an expert and influencer, he is frequently booked for talks both in Sweden and internationally. Joakim has worked as a popular host for Swedish television show “Surrounded by Nature.” He is also a Fellow of the highly respected Explorers Club.
Ipah Uid Lynn is an underwater photographer and PADI Instructor. A mother of six children, she travels the world with her husband in search of marine life—from the smallest critters to the largest big animals—with the aim of capturing the beauty of the underwater world with her camera.
The award-winning photographer has received more than 19 international accolades in her career, putting her native Malaysia on the underwater imaging map. Ipah is a frequent speaker at international dive shows, sharing her knowledge about the art of creative underwater photography.
Follow Ipah and her work on Facebook.
Goff’s life changed when a British non-governmental organization called Blue Ventures started working in his small fishing village, and he had the opportunity to learn more about conservation and marine protection. He was offered a job, and he began working with the team on a range of projects, including recording the shark catches of local fishers and conducting a series of marine educational programs. During that time, he learned to speak English and became a PADI Assistant Instructor.
In 2014, by chance Goff met a British environmental filmmaker called Chris Scarffe, who was working on a project for a documentary TV series on HBO about overfishing. Goff became the translator and “fixer” for the show, and they became good friends and colleagues. Over the years, Goff has learned the art of filmmaking and photography from Chris, putting these new skills to good use and traveling to some of the most remote and inaccessible places in Madagascar. As Manager of Madagascar Film and Photography, Goff works to capture powerful images of Madagascar’s people and biodiversity.
Follow Goff on Facebook.
If your organization would be interested in supporting the Annual World Oceans Day Photo Contest please contact us here.
Competition curator Ellen Cuylaerts talks to Joanna Smart, the photographer that shot the overall winner of the 2020 World Oceans Day Photo Competition
Travel with David Salvatori to Italy as he reveals the story behind his award-winning image
Christian Vizl describes how he captured his award-winning image shot on expedition to the Arctic
Jonas Thormar tells the story behind his award-winning split-shot leopard seal image