All the winners from the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020

Gareth Richman, Laura Hampson
Greg LeCour/UPY 2020

During an expedition to Antarctica, Greg Lecoeur discovered that crabeater seals had taken up residence on icebergs that drift in polar currents.

Exploring further, along with filmmaker Florian Fisher and freediver Guillaume Nery, Lecoeur documented these small habitats – and it resulted in the winning image for this year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year competition.

Of the image, which sees the seals dancing beneath an iceberg, Lecoeur said: “Icebergs are dynamic kingdoms that support marine life. As they swing and rotate slowly through polar currents, icebergs fertilize the oceans by carrying nutrients from land that spark blooms of phytoplankton, fundamental to the carbon cycle.”

Alex Mustard, judge and administrator of the awards, said: “The balletic rhythm of these crabeater seals and the ethereal landscape of the pitted iceberg creates a composition that draws you into a corner of the world that few people have witnessed. The multiple subjects take my eyes on a journey through the frame and into the icy ocean of Antarctica.”

Lecour’s image was just one of nearly 40 winning images at this year’s awards (which you can see in the gallery above), all of which are available with descriptions in this free-to-download handbook.

The Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) awards date back to 1965 when Bernard Eaton organised the Brighton Underwater Film Festival – but it wasn’t until 2014 that the first UPY happened, which now attracts over 5,000 entries annually.

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