The winners of the inaugural Life Under Water Challenge travel photography contest have been announced.
The newly launched photography contest celebrates marine life beauty and conservation, calling upon amateur and professional photographers to share their most captivating photos and stories of life under water.
The contest, managed by Positive.Travel called upon photographers to share an image capturing the beauty of marine life and our oceans, alongside a story sharing their positive experiences in helping to conserve and celebrate our oceans.
The contest has three winners – one chosen by a public vote, one chosen by a panel of esteemed judges and one selected by Positive Travel.
The judges winner was selected by an esteemed panel of judges featuring TV host and YouTuber Eva Zu Beck, wildlife photographer Carlo Depaulis and Co-founder of Principe di Salina and Positive Travel Advisory Board Member Anita Motta.
The winning entries are as below:
Public Vote Winner – Victor de Valles Ibanez
The winner of the public vote is Victor de Valles Ibanes, whose winning entry showcases him freediving in Ciutadella, Menorca.
Victor is an amateur photographer who has been living in Menorca for ten years, where he captures much of his beautiful underwater and nature shots.
Victor says, “I love the underwater life and I started to freedive and take photos of underwater caves. With my photos I want to share the hidden gems of this amazing world and show to the people what we have to preserve. I want to give them a reason to love them and cooperate taking care of it.”
You can follow Victor on Instagram: @victordevalles
Judges Winner – Jono Allen
The winner of the judges vote is Jono Allen, whose astonishing image of a mother and calf humpback whales swimming in a coral reef in Tonga, scooped him the vote of the judges.
Jono is a wildlife photographer, freediver and environmentalist scientist based in Byron Bay who dedicates his time to experiencing the magical beauty of nature, learning about the environment, and capturing the beauty of our world in his photography.
Jono says, “Understanding the wildlife in front of me, being able to interact and connect with it has been absolutely everything. The difference between seeing a whale underwater, and having one spin around me in joy is simply incomparable. This is why my guided encounters and photography focus on connection above anything else.”
Contest judge Eva Zu Bucks says of Jono’s image, “For capturing an intimate moment between two creatures that share a bond of love. This photo transcends the boundaries between humans and animals.”
You can find out more about Jono on his website here
Positive Travel Winner – Angelina Pilarinos
The Positive Travel Favourite winner is Angelina Pilarinos for her continued service to marine life over the years, and sharing her love for responsible tourism on the Great Barrier Reef with newcomers.
Her winning image showcases a pod of dolphins swimming Agincourt Reef, within the Great Barrier Reef.
Angelina says, “Through work I go to the reef almost every day and it has become my home. I’ve become an ambassador for the Reef and I document it every chance I get. I want to show people that the Great Barrier Reef is not dead, but it is struggling. Climate change is our biggest threat and we need to start making environmentally friendly changes.”
Each of the three winners will be awarded a sustainable luxury hotel stay with one of Positive Travel’s verified +hosts providing responsible tourism options. The prize stays will take place when it is safe to travel again.
Images and full details of the winners and all finalists can be viewed here.
On Monday 8th June, in honour of World Oceans Day, Positive Travel announced the launch of the next step in their Positive Oceans Strategy. The organisation is currently working on a Positive Oceans Index aiming to create awareness amongst the general public and travellers about marine life activities and issues in destinations, and enable a paradigm shift in people’s choices and behaviours towards being more conscious and mindful ocean visitors. More details and the release of this research will be released over the coming months.
For more information about Positive Travel visit their website by clicking here.