Ocean Photographer of the Year 2023 Winners Announced


British Oceanographic Magazine announced this year's winning photographs

Underwater photographers submit their work to be judged by a panel of some of the world’s leading ocean photographers every year.

The Ocean Photographer of the Year consists of nine categories and the overall winner, the Ocean Photographer of the Year.

The participants strived to convey not only the beauty of the ocean but also pressing issues through their work. Alvaro Herrero Lopez-Beltran’s photo of a whale stuck in ropes is one of them.

Photo: Alvaro Herrero Lopez-Beltran

A humpback whale dies a slow and painful death after being entangled in ropes and buoys, rendering its tail useless. The image is a sad metaphor for the slow and painful death that we are inflicting upon our ocean planet, says Lopez-Beltran.

The Whale Protection Fund estimates that about 16 million tonnes of plastic dumped in the World Ocean every year. Plastic is one of the key reasons for marine mammal mortalities. Whales and other mammals can confuse large pieces of plastics with food or become entangled in fishing nets.

Besides, climate change is posing a serious threat to several Arctic marine mammal species, including the polar bear, walrus, and several species of seals and whales.

The 1st place photograph in the Conservation (Impact) category reflects this issue.

Photo: Florian Ledoux

In the breathtaking Arctic landscape of Svalbard, Norway, a poignant scene unfolds, says Ledoux. In this impactful capture, we glimpse both beauty and fragility, a stark reminder of the urgent need to preserve this majestic realm urging us to safeguard our precious Arctic for generations to come. The polar regions are vital for the entire planet. Without the icy regions, the stability of our world is collapsing.

Photographs reflecting the beauty of the Arctic and its world were also submitted to the contest.

A scuba diver swims close to an iceberg in Tasiilaq, East Greenland. Photo: Franco Banfi

Approximately 90% of the ice mass of an iceberg is hidden below the surface, says Franco Banfi, and I wanted to show these Arctic giants from a new perspective. Underwater, their structures are completely different and their shapes and textures are constantly changing. You quickly notice that every iceberg is alive; they creak, move, and breathe. When you’re down there listening to the crackling from this frozen fortress, you feel very small. 

The Ocean Photographer of the Year is a celebration of our beautiful blue planet, as well as a platform to highlight the many plights it is facing.

Source: Oceanographic Magazine