Call for entries: UN World Oceans Day Photo Contest

World Oceans day contest on Wetpixel

The 2020 UN World Oceans Day Photo Competition is now calling for entries. Offering 10 categories, each participant must agree to follow the UN’s Charter for Participants. Entries are open now and close on April 30, 2020, at 12 midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Press release


World Oceans Day encourages you to make a difference in your life, in your community, and in the world by taking action to protect our ocean - for present and future generations. Despite the huge challenges facing the world’s oceans such as plastic pollution, overfishing and climate change, by working together we can achieve a healthier ocean that will provide for the billions of humans, plants and animals which depend on it every day.

From Ellen Cuylaerts, UN World Oceans Day Photo Competition Curator:

We appeal to all image-makers to enter the seventh edition of the United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition. Most of you are probably locked-down for the next few weeks. Our past encounters with marine life are now more cherished than ever and have us longing to be in the water again and show the beauty of the seas, the calming effect the waves have on us, the breeze taking all our worries away on a coastal walk. Now, more than ever, we need a reminder of the resilience we expect from the oceans and the lack of breathing space we have been giving her. We invite you to dive into your image library and enter the competition!

Apart from our classic categories open to images of underwater marine life, seascapes, landscapes, human interaction, and images showing the challenges facing the oceans, we have added some new categories to motivate you to enter pictures with perhaps less aesthetic value but strong visual storytelling values. Enter this year’s theme category “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”, give us hope by showing how the oceans are restoring themselves by submitting to the “Rejuvenation” category, wow us with your creativity and imagination in the “Digital Ocean Photo Art” category, and as we kick off the Ocean Decade (2021–2030), inspire others with your images demonstrating “Science in Action”!

This year, we are asking every participant to agree to our charter of ethics in underwater photography. We hope that this charter will be an example for many competitions around the world, inviting photographers not just to enjoy the oceans but to lead by example and be true ocean ambassadors.”

The Contest

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 it.

For the 7th time, Dive Photo Guide is hosting the United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition.

The photo competition has 10 thematic categories open for submissions:

  1. NEW Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean*
  2. NEW Rejuvenation**
  3. Underwater Seascapes
  4. Underwater Life
  5. Above Water Seascapes
  6. Human Interaction: Making a Difference
  7. Clean Our Ocean - Images relating to the ocean that show the positive or negative consequences of human interference above or below the waterline
  8. NEW Digital Ocean Photo Art***
  9. Youth - Open category for photographers under 18 years of age as of 1 May 2020****
  10. NEW Science in Action: Ocean Decade 2021-2030 category*****

Entries must be submitted electronically in accordance with the contest guidelines and subject to the contest rules.

All entries must be submitted by April 30, 2020 at 12 midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST).

CHARTER FOR PARTICIPANTS | UN World Oceans Day Photo Competition

I, working in the underwater realm, commit myself to the following code of ethics and bringing education and awareness around my encounters, to help preserve our oceans and blue planet!
I will use my skills and ability as an image maker to attempt to faithfully reproduce the beauty, splendor and majesty of the underwater world and by doing so, to encourage other to become engaged in protecting it.
I will use my skills and ability as an image maker to attempt to faithfully reproduce the beauty, splendor and majesty of the underwater world and by so doing, encourage others to become engaged in protecting it.
I will use my skills and my voice in documenting the challenges the oceans face to raise awareness and as a call to action.
I will not stress or endanger subjects (fauna and flora) for the sake of an image. If the position of the subject is not contributing to a good image, I will either just document or observe. I will not manipulate or move subjects to an unnatural environment, not by touching nor by provocation.
I will work locally if applicable and contribute time to document and tell stories in support of local conservation initiatives.
I will consider the impact my image has once it gets distributed without the right context and withhold images that can spark sensationalism and wrong practices.
I will research my subjects before attempting to take images or footage of them, hence being aware of their behavior in the water and my reaction to them. This will create an awareness needed to keep the subjects and myself safe in the water. I realize by not understanding my subject I can unwillingly provoke a potentially dangerous situation in the water, thereby potentially creating a media backlash that disadvantages the subject (cf. sharks in the media).
I will practice what I preach! For example, in the fight against single-use plastic, I will use my reusable water bottle, hot drinks container, and so on. When attending events, I will share my concerns and ideas and will try to inspire not by pointing fingers but by giving the right example myself. I will not accuse nor name and shame but graciously lead by example to inspire others to do the same.
I will inform myself and people around me about sustainable food and better consumption choices, but will do that in a respectful and polite way.
I will create a rational dialogue with those that want to learn, talk at schools and inspire the next generations.
I will commit to negotiating a fair price when my images are used for commercial purposes. This will allow me and future image makers to create images with an impact to show the world and tell important stories.
I will contribute images or video/film to United Nations World Oceans Day communication activities and will take part in promoting the UN WOD Photo Competition.
Where I can, I will participate in UN World Oceans Day events and spread the word on social media #unworldoceansday. I will also help building the UN WOD movement during the whole year and will direct people to the portal site to share events, resources and content.
I will contribute to the UN World Oceans Day ripple effect in everything I do and understand that actions speak louder than words.
I will commit to dialogue and looking for constructive solutions when challenged and understand the power of compromise and diplomacy to obtain a common goal in conservation.