The 2022 Ocean Photographer of the Year (OPY) competition has drawn to a close with some stunning undersea images taken across the planet by dozens of talented photographers. Blancpain and Oceanographic Magazine are delighted to reveal the names of the winners in all categories of the competition, including for the Female Fifty Fathoms prize awarded by Blancpain. This announcement coincides with the opening of an outdoor exhibition of the winning photographs taking place along the banks of the Thames (The Queen’s Walk, London) from 5 to 27 October 2022.
The partnership between Blancpain and OPY is part of the Blancpain Ocean Commitment, which brings together all the Brand’s initiatives to protect the ocean. The programme comprises three separate but interrelated parts: raising awareness of the beauty of the oceans, scientific research into ecosystems and undersea phenomena, and introducing tangible initiatives for conservation, such as the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Through the OPY competition, Blancpain and Oceanographic Magazine – the competition’s organiser – aim to reveal the splendour and fragility of the oceans to a wide audience. A powerful medium for conveying emotions, undersea photography has been an integral part of Blancpain’s ocean initiatives for nearly 20 years.
The 2022 competition was judged by a panel of acclaimed photographers and videographers. Over 5,000 candidates submitted photographs (compared to around 3,000 last year) across all OPY categories. The winners’ names in the Wildlife, Fine Art, Conservation Hope and Conservation Impact, Adventure, Portfolio, Young and Human Connection categories were gradually released on OPY’s social media between 28 September and 4 October. The winning photographers were, in order, Rafael Fernandez Caballero (Spain), Mike Spencer (UK), Nicolas Remy (France/Australia), Simon Lorenz (Germany), Tom St George (UK/Mexico), Matty Smith (UK/Australia), Ryuta Ogawa (Japan/UK) and Steve Woods (UK/Canada).
The competition’s grand prix was awarded to Ben Thouard (France), along with the accolade of Ocean Photographer of the Year 2022. Based in French Polynesia, Ben Thouard was unanimously chosen for his breathtaking image of a surfer riding one of the world’s largest and most famous waves, Teahupo’o.
The second Female Fifty Fathoms Award (FFF) was won by Australian photographer Brooke Pyke. Launched last year with the aim of encouraging women to share their perceptions of the undersea world, submissions in this category doubled in 2022 compared to 2021. In accordance
with the FFF award regulations, Brooke Pyke was nominated for the competition by a third party who admires her work and commitment to the ocean. As for all FFF nominees, her pictures (10 in total) were not only judged by the OPY panel, but also by a Blancpain delegation led by the President and CEO, Marc A. Hayek. A passionate diver since his youth, he too wields a camera to capture his amazing underwater experiences. The panel and Blancpain also praised the winner’s achievements, as well as her ability to inspire others to contribute to protecting the ocean.
A dedicated diver and photographer, Brooke Pyke misses no opportunity to document the beauty to be found under the waves through her photographs. A fervent defender of the seas, she uses her photographic talent to raise awareness of the need to preserve the treasures of the ocean depths.
Brooke Pyke will be presented with her prize: a Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe watch from Blancpain’s iconic collection of diving watches. With a diameter of 38 mm, this model in steel has a blue sunburst dial. It is equipped with the Manufacture’s traditional unidirectional rotating bezel with ceramic insert. The piece houses Blancpain’s automatic 1150 movement, with a gold rotor engraved with the inscription “Female Fifty Fathoms 2022”.
Links and information:
➢ oceanographicmagazine.com/opy/#12, to discover all the finalists’ photos, as well as the names of the competition winners and the members of the panel
➢ www.blancpain-ocean-commitment.com, to learn more about the Blancpain Ocean Commitment
➢ www.blancpain.com/fr/collection-fifty-fathoms, to discover the Fifty Fathoms collection
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