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Ocean Art 2021 photo competition winners revealed

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The prestigious Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition, organized by the Underwater Photography Guide, has announced the world’s best underwater photos with its 2021 winners.

Bluewater Photo and Bluewater Travel owner and Underwater Photography Guide publisher Scott Gietler said: “While we continue to see challenges and travel restrictions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 10th annual competition was a testament to the high calibre of craftmanship found in our global community of underwater artists. This year’s Ocean Art competition celebrates a decade in the search for the world’s best photos of marine life behaviour, unique portraits of intriguing underwater critters, and images that instill an urgency for conserving our invaluable subsurface planet. Ocean Art could not have been possible without the help of our generous sponsors who have all had to navigate a changing travel and dive industry.”

This year’s Ocean Art Best of Show is unique among previous best of show winners for featuring freshwater fish – a pair of pike locked in a ferocious battle. The photo was captured by photographer Luc Rooman at the Domein Muisbroek dive site near Antwerp, Belgium.

Other extraordinary Ocean Art winners include stirring black and white scenes in the new Black & White category, images that bring hope and solutions for ocean conservation, exhibitions of imaginative photographic technique, and dramatic animal portraits. The judges evaluated thousands of entries from 81 countries before selecting the final set of images as Ocean Art winners.

Ocean Art 2021 judges included prestigious underwater photographers Tony Wu, Mark Strickland and Marty Snyderman. Over $35,000 in prizes have been awarded, making the Ocean Art prize value among the highest in the world.

Ocean Art prizes are provided by some of the world’s top scuba diving resorts, liveaboard dive yachts, and underwater photo gear manufacturers. Grand prizes include a choice of seven or eight nights aboard the Coralia Liveaboard in Raja Ampat or Komodo, a seven-night dive package in Bali with Villa Markisa, a 14-night dive package in Lembeh with Eco Divers (White Sands Beach Resort), an Indonesian dive cruise and 50% off a companion with M.Y. Oceanic, an Indonesian dive cruise and 50% off a companion with S.M.Y Ondina, and gift certificates from Bluewater Photo and Bluewater Travel. Premium travel prizes are provided by El Galleon/Asia Divers (Philippines) and Siladen Resort & Spa (Indonesia). Premium gear prizes are provided by Sea & Sea, SeaLife, Ikelite, and Think Tank. 13 different categories ensure a competitive contest for all levels and disciplines of underwater photography.

After ten years of judging this competition, there has been no shortage of novel photographic techniques and fresh ideas in the winning photographs. Scott Gietler commented: “We were excited to see photographers continue to travel locally and internationally to capture amazing photos. For the incredible best of show, they did not have to travel far. To obtain such a gripping / jaw-biting / jaw-dropping photo, the photographer almost had to have had a personal relationship with these two fish!”

Ocean Art winners

Best of Show

Ocean Art 1
Snoeken by Luc Rooman

Wide Angle

Ocean Art 2
Family by Eduardo Acevado

Macro

Ocean Art 3
Blenny grabs a quick meal by Nigel Motyer

Marine Life Behaviour

Snoeken by Luc Rooman

Portrait

Ocean Art 4
Joker by Paolo Bausani

Coldwater

Ocean Art 5
Traffic jam by Matthew Sullivan

Nudibranch

Ocean Art 6
Spawning by Salvatore Ianniello

Blackwater

Ocean Art 7
Reflections by Steven Kovacs

Underwater Conservation

Ocean Art 8
Coral tree by Catherine Holmes

Underwater Art

Ocean Art 9
Magical fairy wisps by Jenny Stock

Black & White

Ocean Art 10
Ancient caves by Tom St George

Compact Wide Angle

Ocean Art 11
Motherhood by Kate Rister

Compact Macro

Ocean Art 12
Party time by Kathrin Landgraf-Kluge

Compact Behaviour

Ocean Art 13
Mating seahorses by PT Hirschfield

Underwater Photography Guide

The Underwater Photography Guide is the #1 destination for all things underwater photography. Featuring highly-regarded tutorials, technique tips, in-depth gear reviews, amazing international workshops and breaking u/w photo news, UWPG is here to help divers around the world achieve their photo and video goals.

Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editor-in-Chief Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. 30-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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