‘Whale Bones’ photo wins Swedish man Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024 award

Posted on 21 February 2024 By Savanna Douglas

Swedish underwater photographer Alex Dawson has been crowned as Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024 for a photograph captured beneath the Greenland ice sheet.

The image, titled ‘Whale Bones‘ won the Swedish photographer the title of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024 (UPY2024).

The winning photograph shows a diver examining the aftermath of a whaling captured beneath the ice sheet in Eastern Greenland, as per a social media post by the photographer:


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A post shared by Alex Dawson 🇸🇪 (@alex_dawson_photography)

In the photo, free diver and friend of Dawson’s, Anna Von Boetticher, explores the bones of a minke whale.

Responding to a comment enquiring about the depth at which the winning shot had been taken, Anna recalled it to have been relatively shallow at 6 to 7 meters max, and even shallower in other spots – including the area in which the photograph was snapped – being at approximately 4 to 5 meters underwater.

According to Dawson, the underwater spot lay under a thick sheet of ice, allowing very little natural light to come through.

Alex Mustard, who chaired the judging panel of the UPY2024 awards told the BBC:

“Whale Bones was photographed in the toughest conditions, as a breath-hold diver descends below the Greenland ice sheet to bear witness to the carcasses. The diver’s suit and torch give it a ‘visiting alien’ feel. The composition flows effortlessly and takes your eye on the right journey to tell the story.”

Taking to Instagram on Monday to celebrate his win, Dawson wrote:

“I am honored to have been given the award of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024 in London this weekend with my winning image ‘Whale Bones’. This image was submitted in the Wide Angle category, with freediving mode.”

Free diver Anna Von Boetticher, who is pictured in the award-winning photographs, also took to Instagram to write:

“I am so so proud of my friend, the amazing photographer @alex_dawson_photography, for winning the underwater photographer of the year award #upy2024 with one of the images he took when we were diving in this unique location under the ice in Greenland. I am also super proud to be in it and of the work we have done together so far. Way to go, Alex!”


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