Professional diver and photographer Alessandro Grasso has won the Underwater category of the Close-up Photographer of the Year contest with his image of an octopus nestling in a clam shell.
More than 9,000 photographs were entered into the competition this year from 56 countries. There were nine categories: Animals, Insects, Plants & Fungi, Intimate Landscape, Underwater, Butterflies & Insects, Manmade, Micro (for images created using a microscope) and Young Close-up Photographer of the Year (for entrants aged 17 or under.)
The Underwater category was new for this year, after Galice Hoarau won the overall competition in 2020 with his blackwater shot of an eel larva.
Grasso said about his award-winning photo:
“In the past three years, the bacterium Mycobacterium sherrisii has caused the mass death of Pinna nobilis (Noble Pen Shell) throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the empty shells of the large bivalve have been colonised by other marine species. In this case, an octopus takes advantage of the large shell to create its den and protect itself from predators. I used a slow shutter speed and circular panning motion to give dynamism to the image and emphasise the subject.”
Grasso takes home £300/~US$405/~€350 and sees his work displayed to a global audience in the Top 100 online gallery at www.cupoty.com.
According to event says co-founder Tracy Calder:
“The quality of entries in this new category was truly exceptional, with work by Filippo Borghi, Enrico Somogyi, Pekka Tuuri and Nur Tucker all finding a place in the final winners gallery.”
The category, supported by SEACAM, was judged by David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Nadia Aly and Darren Jew.