It was dive-equipment company Fourth Element that came up with the clever idea of the Underbathwater Photography Competition during the first coronavirus lockdown – but the follow-up in 2021 really seems to have unlocked divers’ pent-up creativity.
The results have just been announced, with winners and highly commended entries said to have been chosen from hundreds of entries shot in bathrooms around the world.
The categories were Covid-themed: Self (isolation) Portrait, Lockdown Lego, Zoom In (Macro – close-up), Indoor Animal Behaviour and Positive/Negative (black & white).
Entries were also divided between amateur and professional photographers, with the winners displaying “different techniques and very different results”, said Fourth Element.
The winning amateur image shown above, shot by Barry McGill, was described as a gritty representation of an underwater scene that vividly captured the excitement and experience of diving in UK waters, while bringing an element of fun through use of Lego toys.
Professional photographer Mikko Paasi won the competition in 2020 and triumphed again with an image taken in the bathroom of a Jakarta hotel during quarantine. His “under-ice scene” was produced with the help of modelling clay, hotel towels and a 180-degree spinning of the image.
“What began as a crazy idea has quickly grown to become something that has encouraged some remarkable creativity and certainly created unique images shot during a very challenging period,” commented Fourth Element co-founder Jim Standing, who came up with the idea.