The nominees for the 2021 Ocean Photography Awards have just been announced and the public is invited to vote for winter in the Community Choice Award category.
The awards are divided into six categories covering all elements of ocean photography. The categories are designed to be broad and open to interpretation to ensure that the bravest and daring photographers are not limited to strict requirements. The competition invites photographers to submit images that will emotionally connect to the judges and showcase the beauty and diversity of ocean life.
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The Conservation Award focuses on photographers who document the negative impact humans have on the ocean through climate change, plastic pollution and overfishing. From an emperor penguin chick standing alone on the edge of an ice floe to a seahorse tangled in a disposable mask, these powerful images highlight how much ocean life is suffering at the hands of humanity.
On a lighter note, the Adventure Award features photographers who capture breathtaking moments of marine life and people’s connection to the sea. Images include world-renowned surfer Matahi Drollet, riding a wave known as of Teahupo’o in Tahiti, a diver surrounded by sea lions in British Columbia and a humpback whale crashing in the ocean.
With so many oceans to discover, the Exploration Award focuses on the photographers who bring the rawness of ocean exploration to life. Submissions include expeditions to frozen fjords, the rare sight of the southern bobtail squid featuring a colorful display, and a diver exploring an underwater cave of speleothems (formations formed by minerals) in Dos Pios, Mexico.
Open to photographers aged 21 or under, the Young Photographer of the Year award is intended for photographers demonstrating skill beyond their age as well as a clear understanding of the ocean. The three nominees include Hannah Le Leu, Jack McKee and Mikayla Jones whose images of a sea turtle, a flying fish and two gray whales wowed the judges.
The Community Choice Award is chosen by the public and gives people the chance to vote for their favorite. A shortlist of six images will be featured on a digital public gallery for one week and the image with the most votes will win.
Awarding a comprehensive body of work, The Collective Portfolio Awards presents photographers who have a long-standing commitment to ocean conservation with an impressive body of work. A total of ten images had to be submitted, taken at any point in the photographer’s life. Category winners will complete a one-year residency as a member of the SeaLegacy Collective as well as a public expedition and magazine articles.
The prices for 2021 Ocean Photography Awards range from a £ 2,500 cash prize for the overall winner to Instagram takeovers, 1: 1 mentorship programs, a copy of the Ocean Photography Awards book and an exhibition in London. In total, the prizes are worth over £ 500,000 and the breakdown can be found here.
Winners are announced on September 16, 2021, and entries will be judged by a panel of ocean experts including Paul Nicklen, Cristina Mittermeier, Shawn Heinrichs, Ami Vitale and others. To follow the news of the competition, follow @ocean_photography_awards on Instagram.
To see some of this year’s entries, scroll below.
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