Discovery

Winners of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 Unveiled—Showcasing Sharks, Shipwrecks, Starfish, and More

BY Michael Wing TIMEMarch 28, 2022 PRINT

As all manner of mandates and travel restrictions have impeded would-be underwater photographers from diving with their cameras into seas, tropical lagoons, and other submerged spots around the world, it hasn’t stopped the Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) competition from rolling out this year’s host of winners.

Some 4,200 splendid subaquatic shots piled in from across the globe, featuring a breathtaking photo of five whale sharks engaged in a nighttime feeding frenzy in the Maldives (“Giants Of The Night”), a deep-sea shipwreck in Norway, a flooded underwater mine in Sweden, and more.

Winner: Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022

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“Dancing with the giants of the night” by Rafael Fernandez Caballero. (Courtesy of Rafael Fernandez Caballero/UPY 2022)

The top award, Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, was handed to Rafael Fernandez Caballero from Spain for his “Dancing with the giants of the night.”

“It was already incredible when one whale shark came to our boat,” explained Fernandez. “But more and more kept arriving. I was diving with Gador Muntaner, a shark researcher, who couldn’t believe it as their numbers grew. He counted 11 sharks that night—a once-in-a-lifetime encounter that nobody thought was possible.”

In light of the pandemic, which has hampered travel in many ways, a fairly novel category, My Backyard Award 2022, was retained this year—resulting in an amphibious encounter with a trio of affection-filled frogs hugging.

Unlike the several other underwater competitions, which only feature wildlife, UPY includes any and all submerged spectacles, allowing for more artistic license—as well as this year’s Up and Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year winner which showcases underwater poetry: an aquatic female in a white dress at sunset.

Winner: British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022

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“A 3.5m great white curiously approaches my lens” by Matty Smith. (Courtesy of Matty Smith/UPY 2022)

UPY’s British legacy gave rise to two more exclusive categories: British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 and Most Promising British Underwater Photographer 2022, which spotlighted sparkling underwater “Diamonds and Rust,” snapped near a pier one afternoon.

Lastly, acknowledging efforts to save our seas and their wildlife, newly minted category Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2022 saw a submission of anchovy fishermen off the coast of Vietnam novelly depicted in an aerial shot from above.

Words can not do justice to these sublime submissions, so without further ado, the winners are as follows:

Winner: Wrecks

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“Abandoned ship” by Alex Dawson. (Courtesy of Alex Dawson/UPY 2022)

Winner: My Backyard Award 2022

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“All You Need Is Love” by Pekka Tuuri. (Courtesy of Pekka Tuuri/UPY 2022)

Winner: Up and Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022

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“Supernova in paradise” by Quico Abadal. (Courtesy of Quico Abadal/UPY 2022)

Winner: ‘Save Our Seas Foundation’ Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2022

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“Season of anchovy fishery” by Thien Nguyen Ngoc. (Courtesy of Thien Nguyen Ngoc/UPY 2022)

Winner: Most Promising British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022

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“Diamonds and Rust” by Paul Pettitt. (Courtesy of Paul Pettitt/UPY 2022)
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Third: British Waters Compact, “The Dragonets lair” by Tony Reed. (Courtesy of Tony Reed / UPY 2022)

Winner: Macro

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“Mimicry” by Javier Murcia. (Courtesy of Javier Murcia/UPY 2022)
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Runner Up: Macro, “City of Angels” by David Alpert. (Courtesy of David Alpert/UPY 2022)
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Third: Macro, “Green Fire” by Hannes Klostermann. (Courtesy of Hannes Klostermann/UPY 2022)
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Runner Up: Wrecks, “Glassfish Synchronicity” by Catherine Holmes. (Courtesy of Catherine Holmes/UPY 2022)
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Third: Wrecks, “Coral on the Kittiwake” by Karlo Macas. (Courtesy of Karlo Macas/UPY 2022)
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“The circle of life” by Javier Murcia. (Courtesy of Javier Murcia/UPY 2022)
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Third: Portraits, “Longevity Meditation” by Daniele Comin. (Courtesy of Daniele Comin/UPY 2022)

Winner: Black and White

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“Sarah’s Underwater World” by Kerrie Burow. (Courtesy of Kerrie Burow/UPY 2022)
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Runner Up: Black and White, “Evening with sharks and birds” by Borut Furlan.(Courtesy of Borut Furlan/UPY 2022)
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Third: Black and White, “Water Dimension” by James Rokop. (Courtesy of James Rokop/UPY 2022)
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Runner Up: “Headspace” by James Rokop. (Courtesy of James Rokop/UPY 2022)
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Third: Compact, “Colors of a Quarry” by Enrico Somogyi. (Courtesy of Enrico Somogyi/UPY 2022)
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Third: Up and Coming, “Beauty on a red anemone skirt” by Yazid El Shaari. (Courtesy of Yazid El Shaari/UPY 2022)
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Third: Up and Coming, “The adventures of Captain Lisa” by Quico Abadal. (Courtesy of Quico Abadal/UPY 2022)
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Runner Up: British Waters Wide Angle, “Grayling in summer sunlight” by Paul Colley. (Courtesy of Paul Colley/UPY 2022)
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Third: British Waters Wide Angle, “Yawn” by Henley Spiers. (Courtesy of Henley Spiers/UPY 2022)

Winner: British Waters Macro

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“Best Buddies” by Dan Bolt. (Courtesy of Dan Bolt/UPY 2022)
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Runner Up: British Waters Macro, “Hello!” by Dan Bolt. (Courtesy of Dan Bolt/UPY 2022)

Winner: British Waters Living Together

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“A peaceful coexistence” by Lewis Michael Jefferies. (Courtesy of Michael Jefferies/UPY 2022)
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Runner Up: British Waters Living Together, “SS Persier” by Kirsty Andrews. (Courtesy of Kristy Andrews/UPY 2022)
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Third: British Waters Living Together, “Snug in my pipe” by Alison Pettitt. (Courtesy of Alison Pettitt/UPY 2022)

Winner: British Waters Compact

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“Rock pool star” by Martin Stevens. (Courtesy of Martin Stevens/UPY 2022)
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Runner Up: British Waters Compact, “Fluorescent Fireworks” by James Lynott. (Courtesy of James Lynott/UPY 2022)

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Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.
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