Award-winning photos showcase the most beautiful and tragic moments of life underwater

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A smiling shark and bride-like fish are among the snapshots submitted to the Underwater Photography Guide’s Ocean Art Contest 2019.

Snooty, the female lemon shark captured in Florida’s Bonaire Wreck, has become a local celebrity with divers  – and her stunning picture received an Honorable Mention in the Portrait category.

Another highlight from the 8th annual competition, which attracted submissions from 76 countries, includes the blackwater category’s fifth place winner, which appears to show a driftfish swimming under a Amakusa jellyfish, known to have venomous tentacles. 

The creature appears almost bride-like as it carefully maneuvers underneath the jellyfish for protection, resembling a veil in the shot in Anilao, Philippines. 

Sean lions in Mexico appear to sing, and a shot from Lembeh Strait, Indonesia captures the hypnotic eyes of a snake.

While coral reefs from South Africa to French Polynesia appear in beautiful landscape stills from the competition that handed out $85,000 in prizes. 

Among the more unnerving shots of marine life in the competition which shows the best underwater photos of the year, the gaping skull of a dead turtle is seen at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Tangled in a knot of plastic fishing line, the photo was awarded first place in the Conservation category of the contest and the memorable shot was taken in Eleuthera, Bahamas. 

The Atlantic Ocean image is not the only heartbreaking one that stood out. 

A sea turtle trapped in El Hierrop, Canary Islands and an anglerfish trapped in a net in Punta Chiappa Camogli, Italy, were highlights of the Conservation category. 

A reef manta surrounded by plastics in Bali, Indonesia also shows up in one of the world’s most prestigious photo contests.

Conservation was one of the contest’s two new categories in 2019.

Blackwater diving images were some of the more striking among entrants which many elements of marine life appearing to almost glow in the dark thanks to a dark backdrop.

Humans make an appearance too. 

Aside from incredible shot of divers, including one striking shot of swimming beneath an iceberg – the underwater art category’s fourth place entrant Narcissism, shows an underwater artist in Daegu, South Korea, recreating her own image.  

The new Best of Show award went to a dramatic shot of a crabeater seal in the Antarctica Peninsula. 

The Rising Star Photographer prize went to Jules Casey for a photo of six juvenile seahorses. 

Tony Wu, Martin Edge, Marty Snyderman and Scott Gietler helped in the judging process.

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