Forget the Grammys and the BAFTA Awards – the winners of the 2017 Underwater Photographer of the Year have just been announced, showcasing some of the best photography you’ll see from below the water’s surface.
Since their first competition in 1965, this year has been the biggest and best yet, with 4,500 photographers entering from 67 different countries.
The standard of entries this year “have definitely gone up another gear,” said Peter Rowlands, chairman of the judges. “From my own point of view, I have been captivated not only by the winning images but also by the stories behind how those images were achieved.”
Winner of the British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017 goes to Nick Blake from Dublin, Ireland, for his perspective-bending photo (above) “Out Of The Blue,” taken in a freshwater sinkhole in Mexico known as Chac Mool Cenote.
The grand winner was French diver Gabriel Barathieu for his photograph “Dancing Octopus” (below), shot in the shallow waters around the small island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean. He managed to wow the judges with his technical prowess, simplicity, and clear depiction of the animal.
“Both balletic and malevolent, this image shows an octopus that really means business as it hunts. The way it moves is so different from any predator on land, this truly could be an alien from another world,” commented competition judge Alex Mustard. “It was taken in knee-deep water, showing that underwater photography is open to anyone who is prepared to dip their toe in the water.”
There are 10 categories in total, each displaying a different facet of the deep blue sea or the art of wildlife photography. The whole lot are available to view on the Underwater Photographer of the Year website, but here are a select few to get you started:
Highly Commended: "The Festive Table" by Mikko Saareila of Finland ©Mikko Saareila/UPY 2017