Stunning Photographs of the Ocean Photography Awards 2021 Finalists – My Modern Met

Aimee Jan, Ocean Photographer of the Year, Winner
A green turtle, surrounded by glass fish. (Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia)
Oceans cover over 70% of our beautiful planet Earth. Much of their vast waters remain unexplored by scientists, adventurers, and photographers, leaving much to still be seen. Luckily, there are ocean photographers to pique our interest and capture the unseen sights of sea life. The second annual Ocean Photography Awards seeks to show off the many corners of our oceans—and the environmental dangers they face—through the skillful lenses of the world’s best professional and amateur photographers. The contest recently released announced the winners of the eight annual prizes, including Adventure Photographer of the Year and Youth Photographer of the Year.
Created by Oceanographic Magazine in partnership with SeaLegacy, the contest aims “to inspire change when we need it the most.” The oceans are under threat, but the contest aims to show its magic to a wide audience, emphasizing the need to protect our waters. “We are all ocean creatures, even if we don’t know it,” the contest reminds the world.
Photographer Aimee Jan took home the coveted top prize and title of Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021 for her image of a green sea turtle surrounded by a school of glass fish. “I was out snorkeling when one of my colleagues told me there was a turtle under a ledge in a school of glass fish, about 10 metres down,” Jan recalls. “When I dived down to look, the fish separated around the turtle perfectly. I said to her: ‘I think I just took the best photo I have ever taken.’”
The competition was strong this year, full of stunning images of gentle whales, stunning penguins, and troubling pollution, but Jan won unanimously. Ultimately, though, every photographer has played an integral role in bringing focus to our beautiful oceans. Marc Hayek, president and CEO of Blancpain, a partner of the contest, commented, “Their images reveal the ocean for what it is–or at least what it should be–a place full of life, color and wonder. They also remind us of the injustices we are inflicting upon it.”
Scroll down to explore just some of the incredible nominees of this years Ocean Photography Awards contest. For the full list of nominees and their images, you can visit the Ocean Photography Awards website.
Hannah Le Leu, Youth Photographer of the Year, Winner
“A green sea turtle hatchling cautiously surfaces for air, to a sky full of hungry birds. Heron Island, Australia .”
Martin Broen, Exploration Photographer of the Year, Winner
Speleothems cast long shadows at cenote Dos Pisos. (Quintana Roo, Mexico)
Matty Smith, Ocean Photographer of the Year, Third Place
A hawksbill turtle hatchling, just minutes old, takes its first swim.
Galice Hoarau, Collective Portfolio Award, Nominee
Eel larvae. (Lembeh, Indonesia)
Galice Hoarau, Collective Portfolio Award, Nominee
Snooty the lemon shark. (Jupiter, Florida)
Galice Hoarau, Collective Portfolio Award, Nominee
Juvenile trevally hiding in a box jellyfish. (Lembeh, Indonesia)
Alex Kydd, Collective Portfolio Award, Third Place
A whale shark surrounded by a school of juvenile golden trevally on the Ningaloo Reef. (Western Australia)
Alex Kydd, Collective Portfolio Award, Third Place
A freediver falls through an ocean full of moon jellyfish. (Raja Ampat, West Papua)
Alex Kydd, Collective Portfolio Award, Third Place
A whale shark swimming in the blue. (Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia)
Gergo Rugli, Adventure Photographer of the Year, Nominee
A common dolphin photographed in the Port Stephens Marine Park off Broughton Island. (Port Stephens, Australia)
Stefan Christmann, Collective Portfolio Award
When both parents are foraging, their chicks gather in creches, or mini huddles.
James Ferrara, Adventure Photographer of the Year, Nominee
A sperm whale and sargassum seaweed. (Roseau, Dominica)
Martin Broen, Adventure Photographer of the Year, Nominee
A diver descends into a cenote. (Quintana Roo, Mexico)
Fabrice Guerin, Community Choice Award, Nominee
A sea lion hunts mackerel off the coast of Baja. (Baja California Sur, Mexico)
Maxwel Hohn, Community Choice Award, Nominee
A sea nettle drifts in the shallows of Monterey Bay. (California, USA)
Nicholas Samaras, Conservation Photographer of the Year, Nominee
A seahorse clings to a face mask. (Stratoni, Greece)
Thien Nguyen Ngoc, Conservation Photographer of the Year, Nominee
Anchovy fishing boats photographed from above along the coastline of Phu Yen province, Vietnam. (Phu Yen province, Vietnam)
Ben Thouard, Adventure Photographer of the Year, Winner
Surfer Matahi Drollet catches a wave known as Teahupo’o in Tahiti. (Tahiti, French Polynesia)
Matty Smith, Exploration Photographer of the Year, Second Place
A southern bobtail squid puts on a performance. (Wollongong Harbour, Australia)
Matty Smith, Collective Portfolio Award, Nominee
Like a miniature spinning galaxy on the ocean surface, the Porpita porpita siphonophore.

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