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2021 winners

Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021 results gallery

Welcome to this wonderful collection of winners from this year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year competition. Once again it is an incredible selection of underwater photography from muddy ponds and swimming pools to deep underground and out into the open ocean.

We’ve reformatted our results page this year to function as an online Award Ceremony, so in one place you can feast on the winning images, read the photographer’s backstories, see the judges’ commentary and via video, hear directly from our major winners. Enjoy diving in! 

Alex Mustard, on behalf of UPY

Don't forget: this years' winning images, backstories, judge's comments and full shooting information are availabe in the Yearbook

See Alex's introduction to the UPY2021 results:

slideshow of winning images | Award Winners | Wide Angle | Macro | Wrecks | Behaviour | Portrait | Black and White | Compact | Up and Coming | British Waters Wide Angle | British Waters Macro | British Waters Living Together | British Waters Compact | Marine Conservation | My Backyard | Underwater Photography Book of the Year


Award Winners

Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021: 'Sharks' Skylight'
Renee Capozzola (USA)

Renee talks about her underwater image which won the Underwater Photographer of the Year Award in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021.
Most Promising British Underwater Photographer 2021: 'Tying In'

SJ Alice Bennett (Mexico)

SJ talks about her underwater image which won the Most Promising British Underwater Photographer of the Year Award in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021.
My Backyard Winner: 'While You Sleep'

Mark Kirkland (UK)

Mark talks about his underwater image which won him the British Underwater Photographer of the Year in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2021: 'Aerial view of a crowded island in Guna Yala'
Karim Iliya (USA)

Karim talks about his underwater image which won him the Marine Conservation of the Year Award in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021


Wide Angle

Winner: 'Sharks' Skylight'
Renee Capozzola (USA)

Renee talks about her underwater image which won the Wide Angle Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Gothic Chamber'
Martin Broen (USA)
Third: 'Jellyfish galore'
Oleg Gaponyuk (Russian Federation)
Highly Commended: 'Honu Sunburst'
Renee Capozzola (USA)
Highly Commended: 'RED DOT'
Tobias Friedrich (Germany)
Highly Commended: 'Two Worlds'
Viktor Lyagushkin (Russia)
Highly Commended: 'Descending from Above'
Celia Kujala (USA)
Commended: 'Beneath the Canopy'
Jon Anderson (USA)
Commended: 'Pink salmon make their way up river to spawn.'
Shane Gross (Canada)
Commended: 'Upside down'
Alvaro Herrero (Spain)

Macro

Winner: 'Pontohi pigmy seahorse'
Galice Hoarau (Norway)

Galice talks about his underwater image which won the Macro Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Larval Lionfish'
Steven Kovacs (USA)
Third: 'Dream ship'
chien-ting hou (Taiwan)
Highly Commended: 'Xenia pipehorse'
Dr Alex Tattersall (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Friend of a feather'
James Emery (Indonesia)
Highly Commended: 'Rainbow Angel'
Viktor Lyagushkin (Russian Federation)
Highly Commended: 'Swell Shark Embryo'
Joel Wilson (USA)
Commended: 'Pineapplefish vision'
Nicolas REMY (Australia)
Commended: 'Hide'
yung-sen wu (Taiwan)
Commended: 'The Fastest Nudy'
Fabio Iardino (Italy)

Wrecks

Winner: 'BOWLANDER'
Tobias Friedrich (Germany)

Tobias talks about his underwater image 'BOWLANDER' which won the Wreck Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021.

Runner Up: 'Reclaimed by the Ocean'
Grant Thomas (UK)
Third: 'Golden Hour at the Georgios'
Renee Capozzola (USA)
Highly Commended: 'VERTIGO'
Tobias Friedrich (Germany)
Highly Commended: 'Very Wrecked'
Pekka Tuuri (Finland)
Highly Commended: 'World War One Submarine U89'
Rick Ayrton (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Stern of HMS Audacious'
Rick Ayrton (UK)
Commended: 'D/S Tyrifjord'
Pekka Tuuri (Finland)
Commended: 'Lift off'
Grant Thomas (UK)
Commended: 'On the starting grid'
Fabrice Dudenhofer (France)

Behaviour

Winner: 'A striped marlin in a high speed hunt in Mexico'
Karim Iliya (USA)

Karim talks about his underwater image which won the Behaviour Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Face to face'
JingGong Zhang (China)
Third: 'Milk feeding'
Mike Korostelev (Russian Federation)
Highly Commended: 'The Last Waltz'
Ralph Pace (USA)
Highly Commended: 'Wolfish nest'
Galice Hoarau (Norway)
Highly Commended: 'Barrel sponge spawning beneath mangroves'
Alex Lindbloom (Indonesia)
Highly Commended: 'Embrace'
João Rodrigues (Portugal)
Commended: 'Mating at the Cleaning Station'
Renee Capozzola (USA)
Commended: 'Orcas predating a thresher shark'
Rafael Fernandez Caballero (Orcas predating a thresher shark)
Commended: 'The next generation'
Tammy Gibbs (Australia)

Portrait

Winner: 'Guardian Deity'
Ryohei Ito (Japan)

Ryohei Ito talks about his underwater image which won the Portrait Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Japanese manefish'
Keigo Kawamura (Japan)
Third: 'French Angel'
Michael Gallagher (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Suprised'
Filip Staes (Belgium)
Highly Commended: 'Hypno-Campus'
Nur Tucker (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Apsu'
Claudia Legge (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Eye contact with humpback whale'
Mike Korostelev (Russian Federation)
Commended: 'Yellow Dragon'
Csaba Tokolyi (Hungary)
Commended: 'Critically endangered cuban crocodile in a cenote'
Anita Kainrath (Austria)
Commended: 'Snooty the lemon shark'
Galice Hoarau (Norway)

Black and White

Winner: 'The Cut'
Diana Fernie (Australia)

Diana talks about her underwater image which won the Black & White Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Time Travel'
Martin Broen (USA)
Third: 'Double turtle'
Renata Romeo (Italy)
Highly Commended: 'Body of Water'
James Rokop (USA)
Highly Commended: 'Prey or Predator?'
Wayne Lai (China)
Highly Commended: 'Ying and Yang'
Hannes Klostermann (Mexico)
Commended: 'Flatfish Junior'
Mark Drayton (UK)
Commended: 'Alien world'
Martin Broen (USA)
Commended: 'Follow my leader'
Martyn Guess (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Hunting Sea Lion'
Nick Polanszky (Australia)

Compact

Winner: 'Doule (Kuhlia Rupestris) near the surface'
Jack BERTHOMIER (New Caledonia)

Jack talks about his underwater image which won the Compact Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Rainbow Goby'
ManBd (Malaysia)
Third: 'Pelagic stingray (Pteroplatytrygon violacea)'
Isaías Cruz (Spain)
Highly Commended: 'Pink and Golden'
Steve Miller (USA)
Highly Commended: 'Toad tadpole on water lily leaf'
Andrea Falcomatà (Italy)
Highly Commended: 'Enter the Dragon'
Ipah Uid (Malaysia)
Highly Commended: 'The Orchid'
ManBd (Malaysia)
Highly Commended: 'Two In a home'
Ipah Uid (Malaysia)
Commended: 'Life drop'
Chiara Scrigner (Italy)
Commended: 'Backswimmer in a reflection'
Jack BERTHOMIER (New Caledonia)

Up and Coming

Winner: 'Tying In'
SJ Alice Bennett (Mexico)

SJ talks about her underwater image which won the Up & Coming Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Toward Shining Light'
Ryohei Ito (Japan)
Third: 'Resplendence - Black browed Albatross'
Danny Lee (Australia)
Highlt Commended: 'Lophius piscatorius'
Jose L Alemán (Spain)
Highly Commended: 'Ethereal Submersion'
Charyse Reinfelder (USA)
Highly Commended: 'Sweetlips of Sawandarek'
Nicolas Hahn (Argentina)
Highly Commended: 'Cova Blava'
Wojciech Dopierala (Poland)
Commended: 'Pygmy Seahorse at the Disco'
Patricia Dusman (USA)
Commended: 'Majestic dance'
Severin Pöhlmann (Germany)
Commended: 'Floating rest'
Irene Orozco (Mexico)

British Waters Wide Angle

Winner: 'While You Sleep'
Mark Kirkland (UK)

Mark talks about his underwater image which won the British Wide angle Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'The Great Migration'
Mark Kirkland (UK)
Third: 'Grey seal gully'
Kirsty Andrews (UK)
Highyl Commended: 'Blur and motion'
Atanas Petrov (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Firework Anemone'
Terry Griffiths (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Drifting through the moons'
Richard Shucksmith (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Blues Brothers'
Nicholas More (UK)
Commended: 'The tree of diving life'
Rick Ayrton (UK)
Commended: 'The gannet and the mackerel'
Richard Shucksmith (UK)
Commended: 'Seal pups'
Grant Thomas (UK)

British Waters Macro

Winner: 'Portrait of a variable blenny'
Malcolm Nimmo (UK)

Malcolm talks about his underwater image which won the British Waters Macro Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Stalkie on Bootlace weed'
Dr Alex Tattersall (UK)
Third: 'Nest buddies'
Dan Bolt (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Squidge and Rust. Candystripe worm'
Dr Alex Tattersall (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Three little bugs'
Trevor Rees (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Sea hare stare'
Kirsty Andrews (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Firework Explodes'
Simon Temple (UK)
Commended: 'The jester within'
Dan Bolt (UK)
Commended: 'Scillonian Angel'
Malcolm Nimmo (UK)
Commended: 'Inquisitive shanny'
Dan Bolt (UK)

British Waters Living Together

Sponsors logo
Winner: 'SS Hispania'
Kirsty Andrews (UK)

Kirsty talks about her underwater image which won the British Waters Living Together Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Crab affairs'
Atanas Petrov (UK)
Third: 'Pontoon island'
Dan Bolt (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Pier Jelly'
Dr Alex Tattersall (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Snakelocks in the Sun'
Dr Alex Tattersall (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Bib on wreck'
Trevor Rees (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Torch reef'
Dan Bolt (UK)
Commended: 'Pier bait ball'
Alison Pettitt (UK)
Commended: 'Southampton Water Starfish'
Andy Pearson (UK)
Commended: 'Who Gobies there?'
Billy Arthur (UK)

British Waters Compact

Winner: 'Sunrise Mute Swan Feeding Underwater'
Ian Wade (UK)

Ian talks about his underwater image which won the British Waters Compact Category in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Hold Tight'
Sandra Stalker (UK)
Third: 'Pinky'
Sandra Stalker (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Fluorescent wonder'
James Lynott (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Friend or Foe?'
Georgie Bull (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Hiding in yellow'
James Lynott (UK)
Highly Commended: 'Summer Stalk'
Ryan Stalker (UK)
Commended: 'A Miserable Plaice to Be'
Georgie Bull (UK)
Commended: 'Frog's eye view of Autumn'
Ian Wade (UK)
Commended: 'Mini Kraken'
James Lynott (UK)

Marine Conservation

Winner: 'Aerial view of a crowded island in Guna Yala'
Karim Iliya (USA)

Karim talks about his underwater image which won him the Marine Conservation of the Year Award in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'The yellow candy'
Pasquale Vassallo (Italy)
Third: 'River of blood from a dead sperm whale'
Rafael Fernandez Caballero (Spain)
Highly Commended: 'Cleaning Up'
Rosie Leaney (Australia)
Highly Commended: 'Making a living'
Scott Tuason (Philippines)
Highly Commended: 'A chef in Florida prepares an invasive lionfish'
Shane Gross (Canada)
Highly Commended: 'Estuary misery'
Martin Rejžek ( Czech Republic)
Commended: 'The end of a silky shark'
Rafael Fernandez Caballero (Spain)
Commended: 'Little Blue'
Scott Portelli (Australia)
Commended: 'Leatherback Toddler'
Sirachai Arunrugstichai (Thailand)

My Backyard

Winner: 'While You Sleep'
Mark Kirkland (UK)

Mark talks about his underwater image which won him the My Backyard Award in the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition 2021

Runner Up: 'Pink and Golden'
Steve Miller (USA)
Third: 'Pink salmon make their way up river to spawn.'
Shane Gross (Canada)
Highly Commended: 'Two Worlds at Casino Point'
Renee Capozzola (USA)
Highly Commended: 'Furious'
TANER ATILGAN (Netherlands)

Underwater Photography Book of the Year

Winner: 'Wakatobi; Conservation. In depth'
Wade Hughes and Robyn Hughes (Indonesia)
Recommended reading: 'A Field Guide to Blackwater Diving in Hawaii'
Jeff Milisen (USA)
Recommended reading: 'Wild and Temperate Seas: 50 Favourite UK Dives'
Will Appleyard (UK)

This years' winning images, backstories, judge's comments and full shooting information are available in the Yearbook