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Enter the United Nations World Oceans Day Global Photo Contest!  Deadline to Submit is April 7, 2024

World Oceans Day Photo Contest

With the theme of “Awaken New Depths,” preparations for this year’s World Oceans Day on June 8, 2024 are gearing up with the annual photo competition hosted by the United Nations (U.N.) and judged by a panel of world-renowned experts.

“Photography is a powerful medium to convey a feeling or a message. This open and free photo competition seeks to inspire the creation of imagery capturing the beauty, the challenges and the importance of the ocean and humankind’s relation to it, hoping to contribute to actions to preserve this vital resource,” World Oceans Day explains on its website.

This free competition is open to the public worldwide with five thematic categories open for submission. The categories are purposefully broad to encourage photographers’ interpretations and artistic visions.

The competition is open for entries between March 1 and April 7, 2024. Winners will be announced during the live broadcast of U.N. World Oceans Day 2024 on June 7, 2024.

Note that, although the official (U.N.) designation day for World Oceans Day is still June 8, since it falls this year on a Saturday, the 2024 event will be celebrated on Friday, June 7.

The categories are:

Awaken New Depths

Images that appeal to new depths of compassion, understanding, collaboration, and commitment for the ocean and the issues it faces. Photos that influence our perspectives and make us fundamentally reconsider not only our relationship to the ocean but also our methods and mediums of honoring, nurturing, and protecting it.

Describing this new category, the United Nations explained:

“The ocean sustains humanity and all life on earth. Nonetheless, despite our utter reliance on it, we have only ever explored ~10%. While we know little of the ocean compared to its immense vastness, what we do know is that the consequences of our actions are evident throughout its waters. The knowledge on the ocean’s dire state is clear. Still, each year humanity continues to make shallow and short-sighted decisions that further the likelihood of the ocean’s, as well as our own, demise.

“We don’t have time for ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Our relationship to the ocean needs to urgently change, and our efforts have only skimmed the surface to date. To motivate widespread momentum for the ocean, we need to awaken new depths.”

Guice Offshore Mini Supply Vessel in the Dominican Republic.

Small Island Developing States

Images showcasing the beauty of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and demonstrating the intimate connection of SIDS and their people to the ocean. Entries in this category may have the chance to have their images displayed at the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States, to be held in Antigua and Barbuda from May 27th–30th, 2024

Big and Small Underwater Faces

Portraits of marine life underwater that feature faces big and/or small to help personalize the world beneath the waves

Underwater Seascapes

Awe-inspiring underwater seascapes of the ocean’s splendors, from life in the ocean to ecosystems and exchanges we don’t typically see, anything that inspires beauty, promise, or potential. A minimum of 50% should be taken underwater, also allowing half-above water and half-below water shots.

Above Water Seascapes

This category features landscapes depicting an environment dependent on the ocean that are taken above water.

Deadline to Enter is April 7; Winners Announced June 7

Winning images will be recognized at the United Nations on June 7th during the United Nations event marking World Oceans Day 2024. Recognition and diffusion of the winning images and finalists will be widely exposed throughout the contest websites, the media and the informational materials related to subsequent competitions. Winning photos have been printed for exhibitions around the world.

Entries must be submitted electronically in accordance with the contest guidelines and subject to the contest rules.  Read the Participants’ Code of Ethics HERE

All entries must be submitted by April 7th, 2024 at 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Winners will be announced during the live broadcast of UN World Oceans Day 2024 on June 7, 2024.

Entries must be made via the Dive Photo Guide website HERE

About the contest, U.N. World Oceans Day Photo Competition Curator Ellen Cuylaerts said, “While the ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, we have hardly explored 5% of this vast, mysterious world that holds the key to unlocking new ways of coexistence and taking care of our future, and that of the next generation, with respect of all life. Can you capture, in a single image, the essence of people working on understanding and feeling the connection to the ocean? Or have you witnessed this bond on land? Then enter the “Small Island Developing States” category, with a chance to have your image displayed at the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States in May 2024.

“In the categories “Big and Small Underwater Faces,” “Underwater Seascapes,” and “Above Water Seascapes,” judges are looking for entries that touch our deeper inner self and evoke our interest to discover the stories behind the images, creating the realization of the need to understand and protect.

“Share your best work and have a chance to create a meaningful dialogue within a community of people working on protecting and celebrating the wonders of our oceans. We hope everyone celebrates with us!

“We are asking all participants to agree to our charter of ethics in underwater photography established in 2020 (see below), inviting photographers not just to enjoy the oceans but to lead by example and be true ocean ambassadors.”

The 2024 Photo Competition for UN World Oceans Day is coordinated in collaboration between the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, DivePhotoGuide (DPG), Oceanic Global, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and Nausicaa.

Check out last year’s World Oceans Day 10th Anniversary Photos HERE.

About World Oceans Day

Oceans Day was first declared as June 8, 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at the Global Forum, a parallel event at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development that provided an opportunity for non-government organizations and civil society to express their views on environmental issues.

The Declaration was inspired by an event organized on that day by the Oceans Institute of Canada and supported by the Canadian Government called “Oceans Day at Global Forum—The Blue Planet.”  The program featured international experts, opinion leaders and those in a position to speak for the oceans’ contributions to sustaining the Blue Planet.

In 2008, led by Canada, the General Assembly resolved that 8 June would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day”. (General Assembly resolution 63/111)

In the interim, observation of Oceans Day had broadened and deepened. The need and scope for this was reflected in the broad range of concerns expressed in 2008 by the U.N. Secretary-General, including implementation of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, maritime space, international shipping, maritime security, marine science and technology, marine biological diversity, the marine environment and sustainable development, climate change and regional and international cooperation. The awareness and action spurred by observation of World Oceans Day would be crucial in all these areas.

Taking place on the same day is the Oceans Foundation “World Ocean Day” (different than the U.N. event) HERE.

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