LONDON: 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, Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reported.
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.’
Greek photographer Nicholas Samaras won ‘Conservation Photographer of the Year’ for capturing a seahorse dragging a face mask, revealing a troubling reality of how human-induced pollution is impacting the underwater world.
The photo, selected this week from a pool of 3,500 others, was taken in the waters of Stratoni Halkidikis in northern Greece, about 90 minutes from Thessaloniki.
In a Facebook post, Samaras said: “I was shocked and disappointed with the image, but I had to maintain my composure to elicit the shot. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have seen dozens of discarded masks and plastic gloves floating in the sea.”
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, is open to the public for a month until October 17.