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Competitions reviewed

by Peter Tatton

Reproduced from in focus 40 (Mar. 1991)

Over Christmas sitting at home in the UK, with its short days and inhospitable coastal waters, it struck me that it was an ideal time to read the last few year's IN FOCUS (for the second time at least). In doing so 1 felt that a review of the various regular underwater photographic competitions that take place might be of interest to other readers.

Most of us would like to enter competitions, its finding the motivation to do so that can be difficult. Often, however, the problem is not knowing when the events are going to happen that causes us to miss good opportunities. After all, someone has to win, why not a BSoUP member.

United Kingdom

BSoUP runs a monthly competition (the first nine months of the year) called FOCUS ON in which up to two slides on a given subject can be entered. See this issue for full details. In addition there is an annual Best of British Competition in October and an Open Portfolio competition in December. These events are for members only and further details will be published in IN FOCUS later this year.

The Beginners' Portfolio Competition held in November is a national event and attracted 69 entries last year. Full details will appear in IN FOCUS and DIVER magazine in October.

These events are an ideal way to start entering your work and receiving feedback.
There are now three 'On the Day' events with prizes offered for the best shots taken. The BSoUP Splash-in at Fort Bovisand in Plymouth is the oldest and attracts 60 or more photographers each year. Apart from the slides taken on the day there is also a print competition. This year the event takes place on June 1 st. Full details will appear in the next issue of IN FOCUS.

The St Abbs and Eyemouth Splash-in is held over the August Bank Holiday with prizes for wide-angle, close-up and land slides as well as best beginner and overall winner. This year's event is planned to take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, 24125 August. Further details will be published in IN FOCUS as they become available

The newest Splash-in 'On the Day' event is held on the Isle of Man and is rumoured to be taking place this year on the weekend before the BSoUP Splash-in! If this is the case, full details will be included in the next issue of IN FOCUS.

The Wildlife of the Year Competition, organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine and other bodies is an annual event in October in which one of the 14 categories is the 'Underwater World'. Other categories such as 'Animal Behaviour', 'The World in our Hands', 'Composition and Form' and 'Animal Portraits' offer other opportunities for underwater photographers to enter. Full details will be published in BBC Wildlife magazine and announced in IN FOCUS nearer the entry date.

If you take surface shots as well as underwater ones then the MCS Annual Photographic Competition may be ideal for you, if you belong to the MCS. The competition has three surface categories 'Our Magnificent Coastline', 'Seashore Life' and 'Marine Pollution'. Underwater categories are the 'Variety of Marine Life', 'Plant Like Animals' and 'Life associated with wrecks or other man-made structures'. Entries may be slides or prints.

Scottish Diver hold an annual event for photographs taken in Scottish waters. Full details are published in Scottish Diver.

You should not limit yourself to these events but look at all photographic competitions to see if an underwater image would be suitable. Mark Webster won second prize last year in the Cornwall Natural Photography Competition organised by Cornish Life Magazine.


Antibes hosts the Festival Mondial de l'Image Sous Marine, an annual event which takes place in November. This is the largest and probably best organised festival of its kind anywhere in the world, with prizes for film, video, audio-visuals, slides and prints. Entries have to be submitted by mid-September. Further details will appear in IN FOCUS.

Biannually the CMAS hold the Jacques Dumas Trophy Competition in remembrance of this past president who was an enthusiastic underwater photographer. Entries must comprise four colour prints and the original colour slides. The next competition will be held in 1992 and will be announced in IN FOCUS.


The Belgian Federation NELOS hosts an annual festival (now in its tenth year) in mid-November. Entries have to be submitted in mid-October.
Seaview is a biannual event (two have been held in 1988 and 1990). Audiovisual presentations can be shown on the photographer's own equipment.


Athens hold an annual festival which is now in its eighth year.


The Blue Dolphin of Malta is an annual splash-in type international underwater photographic competition. It is open to all ulw photographers. Each is issued with two rolls of film from which six slides must be chosen for submission to the judges. Each slide is awarded a score by each judge, and the photographer with the highest score is the winner. A favourable travell accommodation/participation package was organised last year. There is also a mini-Blue Dolphin for photographs taken in Maltese waters.


Two annual International Exhibitions of Underwater Photography have been held, one in January 1989 and one in January 1990.


Organised by Dykhuset in Stockholm this competition became international for the first time last year. There have been four classes for in past events - Tropical, Cold water, Stockholm archipelago Colour Prints and Black and White Prints. The closing date last year was in September.

Rest of the world

There have been few competitions advertised in IN FOCUS as the editor does not receive details. However, there are many competitions organised in America, Australia and elsewhere. It would help if members aware of other events would pass on details.

This is not an exhaustive review of all the competitions held in the world but just my impression of the regular ones reported in IN FOCUS. If you decide to enter, help yourself by ensuring that your entries are well packed - Prints in individual sleeves inside rigid backed envelopes - Slides individually wrapped in paper then placed in a rigid container inside a padded envelope.

I would like to help BSoUP to provide more information about such events. So if you can please contact either the Editor or me.

Peter Tatton Telephone 0727 832895 (after 7.00 p.m.)

Reproduced from in focus 40 (Mar. 1991)

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