They are unforgettable images of a real submerged world. Many make us stop until we can understand what we have in front of us. Others are an immediate astonishment. To make sure you don’t miss this show, we’ve left the winning photo of the contest at the end of this gallery of underwater life.
“It is evident from this year’s winning images that our community of underwater photographers has entered an exciting new post-pandemic era,” reads the press release announcing the winners of the 2022 edition. The truth is that among the winners of the different 14 categories in the contest there are very different images but all of them have one important point in common: they all tell a story. And, please, be sure to look at the titles of the photos that prove that in addition to a good eye, there are many photographers with a sense of humor.
On a serious subject, the spotlight goes to the Ocean Art-winning photograph, captured by Kat Zhou in palm beachFloridawhich “depicts the bittersweet final days between a mother octopus and her young, before she dies of old age”.
Kat Zhou shares some details. “I had started seeing photos on social media of this reef octopus with eggs in early March 2022, and I was ecstatic to learn that it was still there when I visited at the end of the month, as I had never seen an octopus with eggs before “, tells in a report shared with your photo. The protective mother-octopus didn’t make life easy for Kat Zhou.
“While it was fascinating to watch her protect and aerate her eggs, it wasn’t possible to get good shots on every dive as she was situated in the middle of a tube, and often either blocked the eggs with her arms or went back that far into the tube that it was not possible to focus on either the octopus or its eggs.”. Four dives later came the award-winning moment: “On the dive I took this photo, there were fewer divers around than usual, and she looked much calmer as a result.”
There are otherworldly images of black waters, pelagic animals large and small, moments that seem to offer a glimmer of hope for the future of ocean conservation, exhibits of imaginative photographic techniques, and awe-inspiring animal portraits. “The judges evaluated thousands of entries from 96 countries before selecting the final set of images as Art of the Ocean winners,” reads the press release.
In total, the contest involves more than 100,000 dollars (over 93,000 euros), money that comes from a long list of sponsors, and, says the organization, brings together “the largest selection of prizes ever in an underwater photography contest” .
The 2022 edition included a new category of mobile phones, which, the organizers assure, “showed the incredible capabilities of a tool that almost always the ocean lover has in his pocket”. And here’s the challenge for those ocean and photography lovers: “We hope that this category will inspire new photographers and underwater explorers to tell their own stories”.
The contest was overseen by Nirupam Nigam, Editor-in-Chief of Underwater Photography Guide and Partner at Bluewater Photo and Bluewater Travel. Here’s his final assessment: “The winners of Ocean Art 2022 surprised me. I was hoping for an ‘instagrammable’ moment to steal the show. Instead, each image is either one of photographic excellence or a poetic reflection of the natural world around us. These images will be etched in my mind.”
Will they also stay in yours?