The Underwater Photography Guide has revealed the winners of their 12th annual Ocean Art competition, showcasing some of the finest underwater photography you’ll see this year.
The Ocean Art 2023 competition featured 14 different categories, ranging from Portrait and Marine Life Behavior to Underwater Conservation and Black & White. They even have a category dedicated solely to nudibranchs, the colorful and desperately photogenic “sea slugs” that inhabit the planet's oceans.
The top prize was swooped by Suliman Alatiqi for their portrait of a crab-eating macaque swimming through the ocean near the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand.
Originally submitted to the Portrait category, the judges picked the image as the "Best in Show" winner as the shot took months of planning to document, which they said in a press release seen by IFLScience “represents the zeal and commitment needed to capture the world’s best underwater image.”
“During fieldwork at Phi Phi Islands, Thailand, spanning several weeks, I focused my efforts on documenting the maritime behavior of the Crab-eating macaque with particular focus on their water forages,” Alatiqi said in a statement explaining the winning photo.
“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.
This year’s competition saw the judges – renowned underwater photographers Tony Wu, Mark Stickland, and Marty Snyderman – sift through thousands of images from over 90 countries. This year’s competition also featured new rules that banned generative AI imagery in the primary categories, meaning these photos are 100 percent real.
A total of $120,000 in prize money was awarded to this year’s category winners, while many others won prizes gifted by top scuba diving resorts, liveaboard dive yachts, and underwater photo gear manufacturers.
A curated selection of this year's winners (and some of our favorites) can be seen below.