Once again, thousands of photographers and filmmakers from dozens of countries competed in what has become known as the “World Championship” of international underwater imaging events.
The competition invited submissions to seven image categories and one video category, with entries evaluated by a panel of award-winning photographers: Stephen Frink, Renee Capozzola, Scott “Gutsy” Tuason, Allison Vitsky Sallmon, Matty Smith and Amanda Cotton.
This year’s “Best of Show” prize went to Italian photographer Marco Gargiulo for his extraordinary split shot of a juvenile imperial blackfish riding a jellyfish under the gaze of the famous Mount Vesuvius volcano in Italy. The photo, entitled “The Passenger,” also took Gold in the Over-Under category.
“Most remarkable for me is the juxtaposition of a blackwater subject against wide-angle topside with sunlight,” commented Renee Capozzola. “I initially thought this must be a composite, so to learn this photograph was one image clinched the decision in my view.” Stephen Frink added: “Possibly the highest compliment I can give an underwater shot is wondering, ‘How did they do that?’ I look at this over/under and marvel at how perfectly aligned the interface is between the topside and the underwater, despite the surface chop. The blend of strobe light for the underwater subject and the ambient light in the background is masterful. Combining artistic vision with significant technical mastery makes this the winner for me.”
The 1st place winners in the other categories were: Fabien Michenet (Traditional), Byron Conroy (Macro), Suliman Alatiqi (Wide Angle), Yinan Liu (Conservation), Martin Broen (Black and White), Magnus Lundgren (Blackwater), and Alfred Schaschl (Short Film).
The organizers are pleased to announce that 15 percent of entry proceeds will once again be donated to marine conservation efforts.