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UPY  Award Winners - Underwater Photographer of the year 2024

Alex Dawson

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UPY  Award Winners - Underwater Photographer of the year 2024
'Whale bones'
Alex Dawson

In eastern Greenland the local hunters bring their catch and share it among each other. From a stable population of over 100 000 minke whales in the North Atlantic the hunters of Tasiilaq typically take less than a dozen. The whale is pulled up on the beach during high tide and many families gather to cut the skin, blubber and the meat off at low tide. Almost all the whale is consumed, however the skeleton is pulled back into the sea by the next high tide and the remains can be found in shallow waters where various marine invertebrates and fish pick the bones clean.

Judge's comment: Photographed in the toughest conditions, a breath-hold diver descends below the Greenland ice sheet to bear witness to slaughtered whales. The masterful composition invites me to consider our impact on the great creatures of this planet. Since the rise of humans, wild animals have declined by 85%. Today, just 4% of mammals are wildlife, the remaining 96% are humans and our livestock. Our way needs to change to find a balance with nature.
Alex Mustard

A very arresting image right from the start; for me this got bigger and better with every viewing. The diver’s suit and torch give it a ‘visiting alien’ feel, the composition flows effortlessly and takes your eye on the right journey to tell the story. Top of the Category and now top of the tree. Congratulations and it has been a pleasure to spend time with this image.
Peter Rowlands

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