Some of the best underwater photography this year may be seen in the Underwater Photography Guide’s 12th annual Ocean Art competition, which has announced its winners.
There were fourteen distinct categories in the Ocean Art 2023 competition, spanning from Black & White and Underwater Conservation to Portrait and Marine Life Behavior. They even have a category just for nudibranchs, or the vibrant and incredibly attractive “sea slugs” that live in the oceans around the world.
Suliman Alatiqi won first prize with their image of a macaque that eats crabs swimming in the ocean close to the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand.
The picture was first entered in the Portrait category, but the judges chose it as the “Best in Show” winner because it took months to plan and produce, and because it “represents the zeal and commitment needed to capture the world’s best underwater image,” according to a press statement obtained by IFLScience.
In a statement announcing the winning image, Alatiqi said, “During several weeks of fieldwork at the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand, I focused my efforts on documenting the maritime behavior of the Crab-eating macaque with particular focus on their water forages.”
“The macaques have adapted very well to living around the sea and will venture into the water for various reasons including transportation, scavenging, cooling down and playing. Highly efficient swimmers, they can dive for up to half a minute and can cover short distances faster than most humans. This photo offers a rare glimpse of the swimming movement of a male macaque,” Alatiqi added.
Renowned underwater photographers Tony Wu, Mark Stickland, and Marty Snyderman served as this year’s judges, going through thousands of entries from more than 90 nations. New regulations for this year’s competition prohibited the use of generative AI imagery in the main categories, so all of the images are genuine.
This year’s category winners received a total of $120,000 in prize money, while numerous other winners received gifts from leading dive resorts, liveaboard dive boats, and manufacturers of underwater photography equipment.