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Are you Underwater Photographer of the Year 2023?  

Great white shark by photographer Matty Smith, 2022 British UPY winner
Great white shark by Matty Smith, 2022 British UPY winner (UPY)

The Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) 2023 competition opens for entries today (1 November) and remains open until 7 January next year. Attracting thousands of entries and with winners featured in mainstream media, the annual event is widely regarded as the world’s leading underwater photography competition, say the organisers. 

UPY’s biggest-ever cash prizes will be offered to photographers finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Wide Angle and Macro categories, both sponsored by underwater photography equipment manufacturer Marelux. There are 13 categories; the other themes being Behaviour, Wreck, Portrait, Black & White, Marine Conservation, Compact, Up & Coming and four for pictures taken in British waters. 

British photographer Phil Smith was the first Underwater Photographer of the Year back in 1965, and Matty Smith, an Englishman now living in Australia, was named British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 for the portrait above of a great white shark in the Neptune Islands. 

“The previous edition of UPY taught us that restrictions on travel may have stopped many photographers visiting their favourite waters, but it didn’t stifle their creativity,” says Alex Mustard, who chairs the 2023 judging panel with Peter Rowlands and Tobias Friedrich. 

“Our entrants showed us how diverse underwater photographs can be, from swimming pools, underwater mines, deep shipwrecks and ocean wildlife spectacles. The last 12 months has seen travel reopen and we are excited to see what images have been captured, especially with photographers returning to work with subjects dear to them.”  

This image of five whale sharks won Rafael Fernandez Caballero the title of Underwater Photographer of the Year in 2022 (UPY)
This image won Rafael Fernandez Caballero the UPY 2022 title (UPY)

The Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 was Spanish entrant Rafael Fernandez Caballero with his whale shark image Giants Of The Night, as reported on Divernet in February. His image of a unique ocean event taken in demanding conditions saw him triumph over 4,200 other entries from 71 countries. 

The competition’s bespoke results system provides entrants with the bonus of feedback on how far their images progress through the contest. Entry fees are £15 for three images, £30 for up to 10 or £40 for up to 20 images across the categories, with exemptions in two categories and payment via PayPal only. Find full details on how to enter here.


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