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The 2022 World Nature Photography Awards Vacillate Between the Humor and Brutality of Life on Earth

March 3, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of an elpehant behind a tree

Photo © Staffan Widstrand. All images courtesy of World Nature Photography Awards, shared with permission

Moments of coincidental humor, stark cruelty, and surprising inter-species intimacies are on full display in this year’s World Nature Photography Awards. The winners of the 2022 competition encompass a vast array of life across six continents, from an elephant’s endearing attempt at camouflage to a crocodile covered in excessively dry mud spurred by drought. While many of the photos highlight natural occurrences, others spotlight the profound impacts humans have on the environment to particularly disastrous results, including Nicolas Remy’s heartbreaking image that shows an Australian fur seal sliced open by a boat propellor.

Find some of the winning photos below, and explore the entire collection on the contest’s site.


A photo of a crocodile's face peering out from dry cracked mud

Photo © Jens Cullmann, gold winner and grand prize of the World Nature Photographer of the Year

A moody photo of frogs near water

Photo © Norihiro Ikuma

An aerial photo of a tree downed on a green landscape

Photo © Julie Kenny

A underwater photo of a seal with several cuts on its back

Photo © Nicolas Remy

A photo of a bird perched in rusted and damaged lights

Photo © Vladislav Tasev

A photo of a bird resting on a hogs' snout

Photo © Tamas Aranyossy

A black-and-white photo of animals charging into the water

Photo © Dr Artur Stankiewicz

A photo of a praying mantis grasping a lizard

Photo © Takuya Ishiguro

A photo of a cheeta scaling a tree

Photo © Thomas Vijayan





The 2023 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest Dives into the Stunning, Heartbreaking Lives of Aquatic Creatures

February 14, 2023

Grace Ebert

Image © Gregory Sherman/UPY2023. All images shared with permission

Dedicated to spotlighting the most vibrant, awe-inspiring aquatic organisms, this year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year competition centers on the mammals, fish, and plants occupying the world’s oceans and seas. The 2023 contest garnered more than 6,000 submissions from photographers in 72 countries, many of which document the striking scenes of life below the surface: stingrays glide along the rippled sands in the Cayman Islands, an elephant plunges its trunk into the waters off the coast of Thailand, and an orca gracefully dives into a school of fish near Norway.

While some photos highlight life at its most energetic and vibrant, others focus on the heartbreaking impacts of pollution and the climate crisis, more broadly. One image shows a humpback whale as it dies of starvation because its tailfin has been trapped and broken by buoys and ropes. “Taking this photograph was the saddest moment I’ve experienced in the ocean,” said the photographer Alvaro Herrero Lopez-Beltran. “Especially because I have spent so much time with humpbacks underwater, experiencing eye contact, interactions, and seeing how the whales are such intelligent and sentient beings. The photo is a reflection of how our oceans are suffering, the product of man’s selfishness and lack of responsibility.”

See some of the winning photos below, and find the full collection on the contest’s site.


A photo of an orca surrounded by a school of fish

Image © Andy Schmid/UPY2023

A photo of baby creatures

Image © Shane Gross/UPY2023

An underwater photo of brown-toned dots and a central object

Image @ Kat Zhou/UPY2023

A photo of an elephant trunk underwater

Image © Suliman Alatiqi/UPY2023

An underwater photo of plant life

Image © Theo Vickers/UPY2023

An underwater photo of jellyfish

Image © Malcolmnimmo/UPY2023

An underwater photo of two creatures

Image © Kirsty Andrews/UPY2023

An underwater photo of a whale and garbage stuck to its fin

Image © Alvaro Herrero Lopez-Beltran/UPY2023

An underwater photo of a turtle trapped in garbage

Image © Simon Lorenz/UPY2023




Dramatic Landscapes and Dazzling Portraits Highlight Global Perspectives in the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

February 8, 2023

Kate Mothes

A photograph of a cyclist illuminated by street lamp on a rural road juxtaposed with a city in the background.

Gyu Seob Shim, Republic of Korea, 1st Place, National Awards. All images © the photographers, shared with permission courtesy of the Sony World Photography Awards

From the sinuous lines of a leaping cat, to a giant tortoise gliding alongside a snorkeler, to a lone cyclist illuminated on a road juxtaposed against a looming city, the winning images from this year’s Sony World Photography Awards (previously) showcase remarkable slices of life captured by photographers hailing from 55 countries around the globe. Now in its 16th year, the competition garnered more than 415,000 entries from more than 200 nations and territories, about half of which were entered into the running for the National Awards, an initiative set up by the World Photography Organization and Sony to support local photographic communities around the world.

Check out some of our favorite images below, and if you’re in London, stop by Somerset House between April 14 and May 1 to see all of the winning images on display, including top picks from the student, youth, open, and professional categories.


The Milky Way photographed over a mountain range and a frozen body of water.

Filip Hrebenda, Slovakia, Shortlist, Regional Awards

An overview photograph of a figure snorkeling beside a giant tortoise.

Thiện Nguyễn Ngọc, Vietnam, Winner, National Awards

A dramatic glacial shelf.

Huazheng Hong, Singapore, Winner, National Awards

A cat jumping in the air, photographed in black-and-white and creating an abstract, linear composition.

Kazutoshi Ono, Japan, 2nd Place, National Awards

A photograph of an owl peeking out from behind a tree limb.

Protap Shekhor Mohanto, Bangladesh, Winner, National Awards

A portrait of two women in black-and-white, one seated and one standing, holding an umbrella.

Nukabari Opuama, Nigeria, Winner, National Awards

A profile view of a colorful tree frog.

Manuel Rodríguez, Costa Rica, Shortlist, Latin America National Awards

A portrait of a woman seated in a classic convertible, resting on the door with her eyes closed, holding flowers and with flowers in the background.

Samia Berbiche, France, Winner, National Awards

A volcanic lava flow.

Niks Freimanis, Latvia, Shortlist, Regional Awards




Motherly Sacrifices and Aquatic Angst Top This Year’s Ocean Art Photography Contest

January 18, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of two fish with their mouths open and touching

“Fighting Blue Throat Pike Blennys” by Mark Green, Honorable Mention Marine Life Behavior

As they care for their unhatched babies, female octopuses refuse to eat, causing them to die of starvation before their young emerge from their eggs. Kat Zhou documented one of these marine mothers as she was in the process of such a fatal sacrifice, and the photo won the Ocean Art 2022, the 11th annual contest hosted by Underwater Photography Guide.

Zhou’s image was chosen from thousands of entries submitted from 96 countries, and the intimate photo joins a collection that encompasses a vast array of aquatic life and antics. Two aggressive pike blennies go head to head, a frog flashes a peace sign, and a menacing parasite hunts for its next victim. Find some of our favorite images below, and see all of the winning photos on the contest’s site.


“Octopus Mother,” by Kat Zhou, Best of Show, Macro

A photo of a frog appearing to hold up a peace sign

“Peace” by Enrico Somogyi, 1st Compact Wide Angle

A photo of a crab clinging to a jellyfish

“Zeepaddestoel” by Luc Rooman, Honorable Mention Marine Life Behavior

A photo of a red parasite with black eyes

“Parasite waiting for the next victim” by Lorenzo Terraneo, Honorable Mention Portrait

A close up photo of yellow coral spawning tiny pink eggs

“Coral Spawning” by Tom Shlesinger, 3rd Marine Life Behavior

A close up ohoto of a small fish among thorns

“Rose Among the Thorns” by Ipah Uid Lynn, 4th Compact Macro

A photo of a creature appearing to climb to the surface

“The Climb” by Veronika Nagy, 2nd Nudibranchs



Photography Science

Nature’s Diversity is Captured in Minuscule Detail in the 2022 Close-Up Photographer of the Year Competition

January 8, 2023

Kate Mothes

A photograph of yellow slime mold.

Nathan Benstead, “Hemitrichia calyculata,” Young Category Winner. All images © the photographers and Close-Up Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

Among the winning images of the Close-Up Photographer of the Year contest, a frilly slime mold stems from leaves, elegant insects splay colorful wings, and microscopic patterns create vivid abstractions. Now in its fourth year, the competition attracted more than 9,000 entries from 54 countries.

The overall winner of this year’s competition was captured by Samantha Stephens and glimpses two tiny amphibians trapped inside a carnivorous plant. She explains, “typically, these plants feast on invertebrates such as moths and flies, but recently, researchers at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station discovered a surprising new item on the plant’s menu: juvenile Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum).” It was a timely capture; by the following day, the creatures had sunk to the bottom of the pitcher.

See some of our favorite captures below, and visit the contest’s website to view the Top 100 photographs of the year.


A photo of a moth on a leaf.

Uday Hegde, “Atlas Moth.” Second Place Dragonflies and Butterflies Category Winner

A photo of two juvenile salamanders in a pitcher plant.

Samantha Stephens, “Nature’s Pitfall,” Overall Winner and Animals Category Winner

A photograph of an insect that has been eating holes out of a leaf.

Minghui Yuan, “Little Naughty Draw Circle,” Third Place Insects Category Winner

A photograph of slime mould that looks like tiny mushrooms.

Andy Sands, “Slime Mould [Didymium Squamulosum] on Holly Leaf,” Third Place Fungi Category Winner

An abstracted photograph of water in seaweed.

Angelo Richardson, “Sea in Fan,” Third Place Intimate Landscape Category Winner

A microscopic image of algae.

Marek Miś, “Batrachospermum Red Algae,” First Place Micro Category Winner

A photograph of a gordion worm knot.

Ben Revell, “Gordian Worm Knot,” Second Place Invertebrate Portrait Category Winner

Pietro Cremone, “The Martian,” Underwater Third Place

A photograph of a pink fish among shells on the sea floor.

Kate Jonker, “Beauty and the Beast,” Second Place Underwater Category Winner

A photograph of two birds on a table outside of a pizza shop in Germany.

Anton Trexler, “Doner Kebab and Pizza,” Third Place Young Category Winner




Art Dance Design

In the World of WearableArt, 88 Dramatic Garments Grace the Stage in a Spectacular Performance

November 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a costume made of shells

“Haerenga (Journey),” Christopher Davis, of New Zealand. All images © World of WearableArt, shared with permission

Every year in Wellington, dozens of extravagant garments explode onto the stage for three weeks as part of the World of WearableArt competition. The annual performance is New Zealand’s largest theatrical production that highlights vast creativity translated through fashion and costume from around the globe. Of the 88 works from 103 international designers in this year’s contest, many are interpretations of the natural world with dried grasses pouring from sleeves and sculptural dresses mimicking coral patterns. No matter the materials or aesthetic, all of the garments have a flair for the dramatic.

In the 32 years since the competition launched, WOW has featured more than 5,000 garments on its stages, and it’s worth a visit to the contest’s site to peruse the archive.


A photo of a costume with pink ribbons suspended from the ceiling

Estère in the 2022 competition

Two photos of costumes, one with feathered wings and the other with multicolor spikes

Left: “Apocalyptic Angel,” Sherri Madison, of the United States. Right: “Wild Things,” Saar Snoek, of the Netherlands

A photo of a costume with a full bird-like face

“Call of the Kōkako,” Stephanie Cossens, of New Zealand

A photo of a costume made with white, coral like forms

“Life,” Sun Ye, Ma Yuru, Zhou Honglei, of China

A photo of a costume made of white plastic

“Plastic Marriage,” Allison MacKay and Gabrielle Edmonds, of New Zealand

Two photos of costumes, one on the left with rippled features and the other with elaborate beading

Left: “This Is the Pyrocene,” R. R. Pascoe, of Australia. Right: “The Giant Purse,” Thao Nguyen, of Vietnam

A photo of a costume that splays outward from the body

“X-Ray,” Lyndal Linton, Brett Linton, Harvey Linton, of New Zealand



A Colossal


Sailing Ship Kite