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2023 Ocean Photographer of the Year opens

Australian National Maritime Museum 3 mins read
OPY title slide

The 2023 Ocean Photographer of the Year is macro and blackwater photographic specialist Jialing Cai from Chongqing, China.

Jialing, who is studying Evolutionary Biology at Columbia University in New York, is in Sydney for the opening of the world premiere exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Jailing’s photo of a paper nautilus shell in the waters of Batangas Bay, Philippines after the Taal Volcano eruption won her the title of 2023 Ocean Photographer of the Year.

‘You’re immersed in the kindergarten of the ocean’

Jialing said, ‘The kind of animals that you find in the open ocean at night are called zooplankton. It is a dazzling diversity of marine life. Most marine animals spend their juvenile life as plankton. For me, the open ocean is just like a giant kindergarten of marine animals. While we're familiar with the adult stages of fish, crabs and coral reef inhabitants, we are probably not very familiar with their juvenile stages. It's kind of cute, you're immersed in the kindergarten of the ocean!’

The Ocean Photographer of the Year Award, run by London based Oceanographic Magazine is in its 4th year and has quickly achieved recognition amongst photographers around the world.

The Australian National Maritime Museum is proud to have produced the world premiere exhibition of the awards.

All of the 2023 winners and finalists will feature in this first gallery exhibition. This follows the incredible success of open-air showcases of selected winners in London, experienced by more than a million people in each of the last two years.

Ocean Photographer the Year is a celebration of the blue planet, as well as a platform to highlight the many issues it is facing.

Museum Director and CEO Ms Daryl Karp said, ‘This exhibition is extraordinary – photographers from all around the world are capturing the oceans that surrounds us from every angle. These powerful and beautiful works combine technical skill and impact. There is something in this exhibition for everyone.

‘Life on, in and around the ocean is depicted in its diversity. We are so pleased to have created this exhibition. As Australia’s museum of the sea, we have embraced the opportunity to display these amazing images from ocean photographers globally, creating an immersive exhibition experience, while encouraging visitors to consider their role in preserving the oceans around us.’

Editorial Director of Oceanographic Magazine and the founder of Ocean Photographer of the Year Will Harrison said, ‘Sydney is synonymous with the ocean, and so hosting this ground-breaking, first-ever, full Ocean Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum felt like a natural fit.

‘Having seen what the museum has created, that decision to entrust them with this moment has been vindicated – it is magnificent. I am so excited for the public to see it and engage with the impactful and inspiring stories it tells.’

About the Awards

The Awards see ocean photographers of all disciplines and experience levels, amateurs and professionals alike, invited to submit their most impactful imagery to be judged by a panel of some of the world's leading ocean photographers.

There are 10 categories, with the overall winner crowned the Ocean Photographer of the Year.

The categories are:

  • Ocean Conservation Photographer the Year (Hope)
  • Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year (Impact)
  • Ocean Adventure Photographer of the Year
  • Ocean Wildlife Photographer of the Year
  • Ocean Fine Art Photographer the Year
  • Ocean Portfolio Award
  • Young Ocean Photographer of the Year
  • Human Connection Award: People and Planet Ocean
  • Female Fifty Fathoms Award

Ocean Photographer of the Year opens to the public at the Australian National Maritime Museum on November 17.


To view winner and finalist images go to : Winners and finalists low res with captions

For images for publication, interviews and for further information please contact:

Steve Riethoff
Head of Communication
m: 0417 047 8374


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