2020 Judges

Tobias Friedrich

Professional Underwater Photographer/Travel & Wildlife Photographer

Germany

“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.” Jacques-Yves Cousteau

In his childhood Tobias Friedrich loved to watch the adventures of the Calypso with Jacques-Yves Cousteau as its captain and the beauty of the world that is below the ocean’s surface. It’s still an overwhelming feeling for him when he has the chance to dive. He loves the elegancy and calmness of the world under water standing in contrast to the hectic atmosphere above.

Tobias Friedrich lives in Germany and started taking pictures with a DSLR underwater in the year 2007. Since then his images have been published in prestigious scuba diving magazines and newspapers around the world. Several underwater photographic competitions, have honoured his work, resulting in over 50 awards with nearly 30 1st places. Lately he has been named “Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018” in the prestigious UPY London competition. All waters, from zero to 30° Celsius, are attractive for him, at least there is something to photograph. He is SEACAM equipment for his Canon EOS 1DX Mark II and 5D Mark II DSLR. He is leading expeditions and workshops around the world, where everybody can join.

More of his work can be found under: www.BELOW-SURFACE.com

His book “Underwater Photography” about how to photograph under water can be found on Amazon and is available in English and German:

http://www.amazon.com/Underwater-Photography-Tobias-Friedrich/dp/1937538524  SBN-13: 978-1937538521 ISBN-10: 1937538524

Jason Isley

CVO of Scubazoo & Wildlife / conservation photographer, Publisher

UNITED KINGDOM / SABAH

Jason trained as an underwater cameraman in Australia before moving to Sabah in Malaysian Borneo to co-found noted underwater filming and photography company Scubazoo.

For 10 years from 1996 Jason filmed all over the world on productions including the Disney IMAX production Sacred Planet, Journeys of a Lifetime with Minnie Driver, Nick Baker’s Weird Creatures for National Geographic channel, Perfect Predators for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and BBC’s emmy award winning Life series.

From 2006 he focused on photography full-time, becoming the driving force behind Scubazoo’s publications division. He was pivotal in the production of their first book Sipadan-Mabul-Kapalai, Sabah’s Underwater Treasure, and then managed the publication of 6 more coffee table books for Scubazoo including the quirky Small Blue World. He is constantly in the field shooting for Scubazoo’s book projects and also behind the scene shots for large productions such as the recent BBC Blue Planet 2 series.

Having a great understanding of the underwater realm Jason has always managed to capture great behaviour shots however it has been his recent project with miniature people that has really stood out. He has used these miniature images and his passion for marine conservation to connect people with the underwater world in weird and wonderful ways.

www.scubazoo.com

Nurul Yazid

PADI Instructor, Underwater Photographer

MALAYSIA

For as long as she can remember, Nurul has always been fascinated by the ocean. She learnt to swim at the age of 3 and was already snorkelling with fishes by the time she was 5. Whilst kids her age aspired to be firemen, doctors or their favourite superheroes, she wanted to be a dolphin trainer. She always knew that one way or another she would end up being a part of the underwater world.

After quitting her corporate life in Kuala Lumpur, Nurul followed her dreams to become a Dive Instructor. She worked on various paradise islands including the Perhentians, Mabul and Pom Pom Island, where she won multiple awards for her outstanding achievement as a PADI Instructor.

At some point, she decided to pick up Underwater Photography as a new challenge and immediately fell in love with it. Fast forward 8 years, she has been featured in diving magazines and websites and have won multiple awards for her work.

Whether she is swimming with sharks in the Bahamas or fighting against the strong currents in Indonesia, it is always with a camera in one hand and her eyes wide open – “ I try my utmost to document and create stories through my photography”.

www.nurulyazid.com

2019 Judges

Ram Yoro

UW PHOTOGRAPHER/WRITER

PHILIPPINES

Growing up around the colorful reefs of the Philippine islands, Ram was inclined early on to pursue a career as a scuba instructor and underwater photographer. From his base in Anilao today, Ram is a pioneering proponent of the Bonfire Diving method for photographing planktonic critters.  Concurrently, as member of the renowned Filipino Cave Divers and the Philtech Dive Team, he is also active in exploring and visually documenting UW cave systems, wrecks, and virgin reefs around the islands.

In addition to garnering several underwater photo awards over the years and contributing articles to various online and print publications, Ram co-authored with Andrew Marriott the “Guide to Anilao” and the soon to be released “Philippine Wreck Book” in joint projects with the Philippine Department of Tourism and the Philippine Commission on Sports and Scuba Diving.

At present, Ram enjoys most of his time sharing his passion for underwater photography through workshops.  You may also checkout his photos in Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/ramyoro) and Facebook (https://web.facebook.com/ram.yoro).

Yorko Summer

UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER

TAIWAN

Yorko Summer is a well-know underwater photographer from Taiwan, with nearly 20 years of scuba diving experience. Multi-talented Yorko aside from being an underwater photographer, is also a travel journalist, photography lecturer and highly sought after as photo competition judge at international shows. He has collaborated with reputed brands, and has been invited by Marianas Visitors Authority as a Marianas Ocean Ambassador to promote these beautiful islands.

Facebook: Yorko Summer – Keep Diving Keep Breathing
Instagram: yorkosummer
website: www.yorkosummer.com

Damir Zurub

MARES Ambassador and Organizer for MAres Photo Marathon

Croatia

Damir was born in 1976 in Zagreb and is a typical Aries: always seeking new adventures and challenges. His underwater photography career started in 2011 with a small “Fuji” compact camera as a leisure scuba diving activity and became a passionate hobby.

So far, the highlight of his career was in May 2015 when he won the title of 15th CMAS World Championship in Underwater Photography as the best all-round photographer, winning gold, silver and bronze medals in 3 categories (close-up, close-up with theme and wide angle with model).

He currently works as an SSI diving instructor, educating, meeting new people and travelling the world while capturing amazing underwater moments.

His photos have been published in magazines, newspapers and websites all over the world like National Geographic, SCUBALIFE and Croatian Traveller.

As president of the diving club “Roniti se mora” he has been involved in different diving projects, both ecological and humanitarian, raising funds through diving activities for children in need.

He is very proud of his latest project organized together with Mares and SSI for children without parental care: financing full education up to Dive Master Level, diving equipment and all costs for six of them, giving them the opportunity to continue their young lives as independent and successful people.

In 2013 he founded the “Mares Underwater Photo Marathon” and have been its chief organizer and director since then.

He is a fan of Nikon cameras and currently takes pics with the D810 and D850.

 

2018 Judges

Dr Alexander Mustard

Dr Alexander MUSTARD, 42, from the UK, has been taking underwater photographs for 30 years and has worked as a full time underwater photographer for the last decade.

His photographs have attracted many awards. He is regularly awarded in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest and in 2013, he was named European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

In 2016 he published two books: Underwater Photography Masterclass, considered required reading by all underwater shooters and the critically acclaimed Secrets of the Seas in collaboration of Professor of Marine Conservation Callum Roberts.

Alex founded the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition, and has acted as a judge for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the CMAS World Championship of Underwater Photography and most major underwater photography contests.

He runs highly popular underwater photography workshops at top diving destinations around the world.

Amanda Cotton

Amanda Cotton, Professional Photographer specializing in underwater imagery. As an avid scuba diver and ocean enthusiast, Amanda’s goal is to help the general public embrace the beauty below the waves, in hopes that with awareness comes concern. The conservation and preservation of this ecosystem is of the highest priority to Amanda. While she enjoys owning and operating a conservation-minded design/media company, A COTTON PHOTO Creative Works LLC, Amanda takes great pride in working with like-minded organizations that genuinely care about the planet and its inhabitants, both above and below the waves.​

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Professional Photography while attending Brooks Institute of Photography, where she participated in the highly acclaimed Underseas Program established by Ernie Brooks. She has received numerous awards for her photography including several from the International Photographers Awards (IPA), Celebrate The Sea, Underwater Photography Annual Awards, and many others.

​Amanda is honored to be a Member National of The Explorers Club and the OAS (Ocean Artists Society).  Amanda was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2015 and was named Scuba Diving Magazine’s July 2017 SEA HERO.

​Amanda’s imagery has been published in major publications and news sources worldwide including National Geographic, BBC, Discovery, Smithsonian Magazine, Times Publishing, CNN, Scuba Diving Magazine, Sport Diver Magazine, Natural History Magazine, Earthweek, and Science Daily; as well as many international dive industry advertising campaigns. Working with organizations such as Scholastic Books, The Conservation Fund, Consortium For Ocean Leadership, Women Diver’s Hall of Fame, Marine Life Protection Act, and Rourke Publishing has allowed her imagery to have a positive impact on the oceans through education and outreach programs designed to improve awareness toward the plight the oceans now face.”

Nurul Yazid

Nurul Yazid (Malaysia) – After quitting her corporate life in Kuala Lumpur, Nurul became a Dive Instructor in the Perhentians, Mabul and later Pom Pom Island where she has won multiple awards for her outstanding achievement as a PADI Instructor. She decided to pick up Underwater Photography as a new challenge and immediately got sucked into it going from a tiny compact camera to having almost everything any hardcore photographer would want to have all in a space of 6 years.

She has since won a few photo competitions and have been published multiple times and now spends all her time diving and taking underwater photos – some for fun and some on small assignments. When she’s not diving, she’s either planning her next trip or looking through her underwater photos.

2017 Judges

MARCO DATURI

MARCO DATURI emerged from the warm waters nursery in 1972 to constriction of inclement authoritarian doctor, he was always very close to the sea and the underwater world.

Marco continues to explore with passion as wedding and the repeated calls to get closer to the technical diving and continues to live this hobby in the limited time that he shares between family commitments, friends, photography, sports and other passions whenever he can.

Inexplicably degree in economics in the roaring 90’s then he sought professional fulfilment in the field of sales and marketing.

Marco constantly looking for new ideas he never care if the glass is half full or half empty, but he always keeps an eye on new ideas.

Website: https://www.daturi.com/site/

PETER SYMES

PETER SYMES was born in Copenhagen to parents of British and Scandinavian origin. He holds an M.Sc. in Biology and Media & Communications. He specialised in ecosystem theory and worked as a research associate and doctoral student at a number of Danish universities and for a brief stint at the Danish Environmental Protection Agency’s freshwater biology laboratory.

Peter holds degree in media and he drifted into a full-time career with the recreational scuba diving industry in the early 1990’s. He co-founded the Scandinavian Dive Magazine (a printed periodical) and held the position as editor-in-chief until 2002. He founded and co-created X-Ray Mag in 2003.

Peter dives both open circuit scuba and closed circuit rebreathers and photographs underwater and topside with both film and digital.

Website: www.xray-mag.com

ERIC GOH

ERIC GOH, a Malaysian has been a water sport lover and an avid photographer all his life. He is an entrepreneur with a Law Degree from London. He competed in swimming and canoeing during his college days in Singapore and it was during that time (1989), he was introduced to scuba diving.

Like most underwater photographers during his days, he started off with a Nikonos V 35mm film camera in 2000 before he forayed into the digital underwater photography. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with newcomers and has a very simple approach in his photography philosophy. “As long as the result is beautiful, it doesn’t matter what style it is” says Eric

Eric’s underwater images have graced international magazines, his personal themed hotel room and billboards around Malaysia including one at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport highway.

He regularly posts his photos on his Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goh.diving