Tiny paper nautilus riding ocean debris wins Ocean Photographer of the Year 2023
The wait is over – after showcasing its stunning finalists, the Ocean Photographer of the Year has now announced its 2023 winners. The first place was awarded to 25-year-old marine biologist and amateur photographer Jialing Cai for her stunning image of a paper nautilus floating on a piece of ocean debris. Of course, there are more wonderful images in the selection, and we share them in this article so we can enjoy them together.
With her winning photo, Cai beat thousands of entries from amateurs and professionals across the world. She took the photo on a blackwater dive after a volcanic eruption in the Philippines. Cai was inspired to start photographing on blackwater dives after learning about diel vertical migration, when zooplankton move from the deep ocean to the surface at night. “That hit me like lightning,” Cai said. “My professor was telling me the deep sea was within my reach, that it would come to me. That realization was mind-blowing. It’s why [I’ve become] so obsessed with blackwater photography.”
Andrei Savin was named runner-up with his astonishing image of a crab sitting in the middle of a sea anemone. Third place was awarded to Alvaro Herrero Lopez-Beltran for his distressing but thought-provoking image of an entangled whale.
Other than the overall winner and runner-ups, the competition also recognizes winners in these nine categories:
- Conservation – HOPE
- Conservation – IMPACT
- Fine Art
- Human Connection
- Young Photographer
- Female Fifty Fathoms
Like many contests devoted to nature, the Ocean Photographer of the Year doesn’t only aim to show the beauty of the ocean. It illuminates both the marvels of the deep blue and the pressing threats it faces. Oceanographic Magazine stands behind this contest, partnering with Blancpain, Arksen, and Tourism Western Australia this year.
So, without further ado, let’s enjoy the category winners and runner-ups from this year’s Ocean Photographer of the Year. All photos will be showcased at a 5-month exhibition in Sydney, Australia. But if you live in other parts of the world, make sure to check out the contest’s website and enjoy the full selection of images from the 2023 contest.
Conservation – HOPE
Conservation – IMPACT
First place – Sirachai Arunrugstichai
Second place – Renee Capozzola
Third place – Kat Zhou
Female Fifty Fathoms
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.