Check Out The Incredible Winners Of The "Ocean Art" Underwater Photography Competition


Katy Evans

Katy is Managing Editor at IFLScience where she oversees editorial content from News articles to Features, and even occasionally writes some.

Managing Editor

Gentle giants by François Baelen, winner of the Wide-Angle category. Ocean Art Competition 2018 

Sometimes we get so caught up in the search for aliens up above we forget there is still a largely unexplored world of extraordinary life down below. So when an opportunity to glimpse some of the secrets of the deep comes along, we jump at the chance to share them with you.

This latest look at life under the waves comes courtesy of the Underwater Photography Guide’s Ocean Art Contest. Now in its seventh year, the 2018 winners have been announced, and they are rather incredible to behold.


From ocean giants to ludicrously tiny specimens, the weird and wonderful have been captured – some graceful and dignified, others perhaps not quite so photo-ready – by some of the best underwater photographers in the world.

Sixteen different categories, from the technical Wide-angle and Macro to Marine Life Behavior and Underwater Art, ensured a wide range of photographic styles and skills. Nudibranchs even got their own category, because frankly, those dudes are so strange-looking and diverse, they deserve it.  

With prizes totaling $80,000, photographers from over 70 countries entered and the quality of submissions this year was the best yet, according to the organizers.

“This year’s outstanding underwater images in the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition continue to raise the bar for underwater photographers,” Underwater Photography Guide publisher Scott Gietler said in a statement announcing the winners.


Best in Show was won by Duncan Morell for his “Courting Devil Ray Ballet”, submitted in the Marine Life Behaviour category. Caught mid-wooing, the rays are beautiful in their movements, however giant devil rays, which can reach up to a 5-meter (16-foot) wingspan, are listed as endangered due to being unwitting victims of bycatch by large fisheries, so this behavior documented is of scientific interest as well as aesthetic.

Courting devil ray ballet by Duncan Murrell. Ocean Art Competition 2018

And in case you were wondering just how "giant" these rays can get...

Special encounter by Alvin Cheung. Ocean Art Competition 2018

Not to be outdone in the dramatic stakes, this crocodile reminds us that having been around for 200 million years, they easily outlived the dinosaurs. 

Croc in the Mist by Christina Barringer. Ocean Art Competition 2018

Life under the waves offers up some truly weird, wonderful, and sometimes surprisingly cute, creatures.

Sheep on the shot by Chun Ho Tam. Ocean Art Competition 2018 
Hairy shrimp in the air by Sunbong Jung. Ocean Art Competition 2018 
Budego (Angler monkfish) by Alessandro Raho. Ocean Art Competition 2018 
Porcelain Plume by Wayne Jones. Ocean Art Competition 2018

Even deep-sea beasties manage to show off personality and whether they are happy or not to have their photo taken.

Face to face by Rafi Amar. Ocean Art Competition 2018
Roar by Jinggong Zhang. Ocean Art Competition 2018
Seal face by Greg Lecoeur. Ocean Art Competition 2018

New this year was the Underwater Art category, won this year by Bruno Van Saen for this snazzy shot of a '"disco" nudibranch. 

Disco nudi by Bruno Van Saen. Ocean Art Competition 2018

And finally, one of our favorites, not least because we don't know how long corals like this will be around to be photographed. You can check out the rest of the winners and entries over on the Underwater Photography Guide website.

Paddle boarders sunset by Grant Thomas. Ocean Art Competition 2018


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