Saturday, July 20, 2024

U.N. World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2021 Winners Announced


The winners of the United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition were announced during today’s U.N. World Oceans Day 2021 virtual event.

The event and competition were coordinated by the Office of Legal Affairs in the U.N. Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea and were produced in partnership with Oceanic Global. The competition was curated by Ellen Cuylaerts, hosted by Dive Photo Guide, and supported by the Blancpain Ocean Commitment.

This year’s judges were Jennifer Hayes, Julian Lennon, Joakim Odelberg, Ipah Uid Lynn, and Michel Strogoff.

The category winners were Renee Capozzola for “The Ocean: Life & Livelihoods” category, Pawel Zygmunt for the “Above Water Seascapes” category, Nur Tucker in the “Underwater Seascapes” category, Francisco Sedano in the “Digital Ocean Photo Art” category, Sayaka Ichinoseki for the “Faces of the Sea” category, and Tom St George in the “Oceanic Discoveries” category.

All of the participants signed a charter of 14 commitments regarding ethics in photography.

Check out the winners’ pictures below.

The Ocean: Life & Livelihoods

The Ocean Life and Livelihoods Winner Renee Capozzola
‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’ Winner Renee Capozzola

Location: Adonara Island, Flores, Indonesia

“Two local Indonesian fishermen paddle in a traditional canoe along a shallow coral reef looking for a good place to put down their lines. These fishermen are practicing handline fishing, a type of sustainable fishing without poles or nets.

Above Water Seascapes

'Above Water Seascapes' Winner: Pawel Zygmunt
‘Above Water Seascapes’ Winner: Pawel Zygmunt

Location: Kallur, Kalsoy Island, Faroe Islands

“Visiting epic Kallur cliff on Kalsoy Island is always a great experience. This time, I had a bit of snow on the hills and the weather was very challenging. On the way up, I was bombed by a hailstorm and pushed around by the strong wind. I was lucky to get to the lighthouse on time and hide behind it. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to fully experience this place but the wind dropped a bit and I was more or less safe. I took a few shots from the usual spots and then flew my drone, which wasn’t easy in the wind and to be honest a bit risky. I managed to capture Kalsoy Island from a slightly different perspective. In the background are the islands of Kunoy and Vidoy.”

Underwater Seascapes

'Underwater Seascapes' Winner Nur Tucker
‘Underwater Seascapes’ Winner Nur Tucker

Location: Los Islotes, La Paz, Mexico

“I spent a week in Los Islotes photographing lively and playful sea lions. This shot, which is taken in natural light, shows is a pup playing in a cave.”

Digital Ocean Photo Art

'Digital Ocean Photo Art' Winner Francisco Sedano
‘Digital Ocean Photo Art’ Winner Francisco Sedano

Location: Mediterranean Sea

“In the famous Disney movie Aladdin, the Cave of Wonders is a hidden cavern filled with all sort of riches and magical artifacts that are guarded by a lion’s head. This work is similar, but the cave is guarded by a moray eel and filled with precious species. The capacity of underwater caves to harbor rich communities has granted them an important status as biodiversity reservoirs. This has been recognized by the European Union, which considers marine caves as priority habitats requiring protection. The work is a composite of three images that were taken in the Mediterranean Sea.”

Faces of the Sea

'Faces of the Sea' Winner Sayaka Ichinoseki
‘Faces of the Sea’ Winner Sayaka Ichinoseki

Location: Hokkaido, Japan

“A two-square-meter veil of eggs, each about 2mm in size, just prior to hatching. The eggs were very tiny and immature, so I can’t say for sure, but they are most likely yellow goosefish eggs. The babies rotated inside the eggs as the veil rippled in the current.”

Oceanic Discoveries

'Oceanic Discoveries' Winner Tom St George
‘Oceanic Discoveries’ Winner Tom St George

Location: Sistema Aktun Hu, Tulum, Mexico

“A cave diver glides effortlessly through a beautifully decorated underground chamber. The underwater cave systems of the Yucatán Peninsula are renowned for their incredible beauty and crystal-clear waters. These underground rivers that wind their way to the ocean are facing increasing pressure from pollution and the over-extraction of water.”

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.