The Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) competition has announced the winners of this year’s contest, with France’s Gabriel Barathieu being named Underwater Photographer of the Year for the above image of a hunting octopus Baratheiu’s shot was deemed the best image out of some 4,500 pictures entered by photographers from 67 different countries.
British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017 went to Nick Blake for his image from Mexico’s Chac Mool Cenote, while Horacio Martinez from Argentina was named Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017 for his image of a lone oceanic whitetip shot against a dramatic ocean backdrop. The title of Most Promising British Underwater Photographer 2017 went to Nicholai Georgiou for his picture of a pod of orcas shot in northern Norway.
Underwater Photographer of the Year, 2017
'Dancing Octopus' by Gabriel Barathieu (France)
Alex Mustard: Both balletic and malevolent, this image shows that the octopus means business as it hunts in a shallow lagoon. The way it moves is so different from any predator on land, this truly could be an alien from another world. A truly memorable creature, beautifully photographed.
Peter Rowlands: Vibrant contrasting colours, detailed delicate textures and a perfect pose. Add the right choice of lens for the situation and they all combine to produce a Champion.
Martin Edge: I cannot praise this photograph enough. As soon as I first set eyes on it as we worked our way through the Wide Angle Cat, I knew it was destined for a huge success. One amazing Image!
British Underwater Photographer of the Year, 2017
'Out of the Blue' by Nick Blake (UK)
Martin Edge: What I really like about this image is the enclosure of the light within the Cenote. The author has contained all the sunlight so the eye of the viewer cannot escape. The lone diver is positioned within the beams and I do believe that the author meant for this to happen. Stunning natural light wide-angle!
Up and coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017
'Oceanic in the Sky' by Horacio Martinez (Argentina)
Peter Rowlands: There was a lot of competitive images in this category, as you would expect but this one was a serious contender right from the start. The photographer has 'seen' the light and realised its dramatic effect extremely well and used it to contrast the small shark in a big, blue, lonely world. Very evocative indeed.
Most Promising British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017
'Orca Pod' by Nicholai Georgiou (UK)
Peter Rowlands: Most underwater photographers would be happy to get a shot of a single killer whale in its environment but Nicholai had the composure not to panic and time the shot perfectly as a pod of killer whales passed by heading into the setting sun. I'm jealous.
Download a free yearbook of the top 100 images from the competition here.