Diver photo-ops: Close-up & UN

Picture: Galice Hoarau / CUPOTY 02.

Close-up Photographer of the Year (CUPOTY) is a competition that celebrates close-up, macro and micro photography from around the world – and now it has zoomed in on divers by launching a new Underwater category. 

The category winner gets £300 and the chance of winning the £2500 grand prize. The total prize fund is £5300.

The Underwater category, sponsored by Seacam, covers images of flora and fauna and has been introduced to reflect the quality of entries in the genre in the two previous years of the competition, says organiser Dan Calder.

Last year’s overall CUPOTY winner was French scuba diver Galice Hoarau, with the picture shown above of eel larva taken on a blackwater dive in Lembeh, Indonesia, and entered in the Animals category. The 2020 competition attracted more than 6500 entries from 52 countries.

The Underwater category judging panel consists of David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Darren Jew and Nadia Aly. The other eight categories are Animals, Insects, Butterflies & Dragonflies, Plants & Fungi, Intimate Landscape, Manmade, Micro and Young CUPOTY, for entrants aged 17 or under.

The contest, held in association with software company Affinity Photo, gives photographers until 23 May to enter. Open to all, it accepts photographs taken with any type of camera or phone. Find out more or enter here.

Longer-established is the UN World Oceans Day Photo Competition, which is going ahead for the eighth year in a row and is now open for entries.

The contest is curated by underwater photographer Ellen Cuylaerts, who asks: “What better way to prepare for new, maybe local, adventures and images than diving into your image library and entering the competition, while contemplating how we can make a difference and contribute to conservation and preservation of ocean life and livelihood?”

Categories are the established Above Water Seascapes, Underwater Seascapes and Digital Ocean Photo Art alongside three new ones – Ocean Life & Livelihood, Faces of the Sea and Oceanic Discoveries.

10 March 2021

Entrants have to sign up to a charter of ethics in underwater photography: “We hope that this charter will be an example for many competitions around the world,” says Cuylaerts.

The six judges are Jennifer Hayes, Julian Lennon, Afelandra Glez Cibrián, Joakim Odelberg, Ipah Uid Lynn and Michel Strogoff. Entries must be submitted by 30 April and the winners are announced on World Oceans Day (8 June).

Find out more or enter here.