Underwater Photographer of the Year has just announced the 2021 contest winners. This year’s overall winner is an incredible shot that will make you look twice – and then keep staring at it revealing more and more of its unique beuaty. Other than the winning photo, we bring you the rest of the amazing awarded images. So, keep reading and feast your eyes on some of the world’s best underwater photos.
Underwater Photographer of the Year is based in the UK and founded way back in 1965. Today’s competition receives entries from all around the world, submitted for its 14 categories:
- Wide Angle
- Black & White
- Up & Coming
- British Waters Wide Angle
- British Waters Macro
- British Waters Compact
- British Waters Living Together
- Marine Conservation
- My Backyard
The 2021 contest received over 4,500 pictures from photographers across 68 countries. Among all of them, Renee Capozzola from the US took the victory and was named Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021. Her photo shows blacktip reef sharks cruising beneath seagulls at sunset in French Polynesia. Personally, I was blown away when I first saw it and I can tell why Renee won the contest.
“I dedicated several evenings to photographing in the shallows at sunset,” the photographer explained, “and I was finally rewarded with this scene: glass-calm water, a rich sunset, sharks and even birds.” Renee is the first female photographer to be named overall winner of Underwater Photographer of the Year. In addition, her photo also won the Wide Angle category of the competition.
Since Underwater Photographer of the Year is based in the UK, it also announces British Underwater Photographer of the Year. This year, Mark Kirkland from Glasgow, Scotland won this title. His photo While You Are Sleeping was taken close to his home in early March 2020. Considering the location, this unusual image also won the My Backyard category, as well as British Waters Wide Angle category.
“This small muddy pond is an unlikely haven for wildlife, squeezed between a housing estate, supermarket and factory. But for a few nights each year, while the city sleeps, it comes alive with frogs. This frame was the culmination of 25 hours over 4 winter nights of lying stationary in darkness. Was it time well spent? Absolutely!”
Karim Iliya from the United States was named Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2021. His image Crowded Island shows over-population and its pressure on the sea. The island you see in his aerial photos is a small island in Panama. This category is open to both underwater and above water photos as long as they highlight conservation issues in the ocean. And for the first time in the first time, an above-water image took the victory.
Last but not least, the Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021 is SJ Alice Bennett from the UK. Her image Tying In shows divers exploring a cave, relying on both scuba diving and photographic techniques. “This photo was shot was taken during cave training,” she explained. “The two divers are followed closely by lighting assistants creating the beautiful halo effects that pick them out from the darkness.”
Take a look at the category winners below and enjoy this beautiful selection of images. If you just can’t get enough of underwater photography, also take a look at the selection from the previous years: