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Annual Photo Contest

Meet the Judges

Meet our 2023 Ocean Conservancy Photo Contest judges! This year’s expert panel of judges features photography professionals and marine adventurers from around the globe, reviewing your images to help us determine who will be the grand prize winner of our 2023 Photo Contest: the Judges’ Choice Award.

Alex Rose

Alex Rose is the Science Editor for Ocean Geographic Magazine, and the Managing Editor for Ocean Geographic Explorers. In her ten years there, more than 60 of her titles have been published both in print and online. Additionally, she has been published in Alert Diver, Sea Technology Magazine and Womanscape, and has contributed text to three books. Rose has served as the Project Manager on several expeditions including two—one expedition to the High Arctic and the other to Clipperton Atoll—that were granted Explorers Club flags. As a vocal ocean advocate, she has given more than 30 public presentations in the last year on a variety of topics ranging from purposeful exploration and plastic pollution to climate change and the ethics of underwater photography.

Rose is also a professional photographer, accomplished violinist, Explorers Club Fellow and PADI Divemaster. In recent years, she has placed in five international underwater photography competitions including taking second in the UN World Ocean Day Photo Competition, first in the Beneath the Sea Imaging Awards, Grand Prize in the National Wildlife Photo Contest, and Judge’s Choice in Ocean Conservancy’s 2022 Photo Contest. She founded a membership-based ocean conservation company, Blue Ring, at the beginning of 2017 in an effort to create a new method of ocean conservation accessible to and inclusive of everyone, and has since raised $20,000 to support the work of marine conservation nonprofits. Rose is also a co-founder of Wave Film Fest, a Chicago-based video celebration of our world’s waters that saw its inaugural event last year, and is the Secretary of Deep Hope, a nonprofit founded by Dr. Sylvia Earle to build citizen submarines. Alex’s driving goal is to find ways to protect our planet’s precious marine habitats through diving, writing, photography, education and research.

Instagram: @noblue.nogreen

Karen Fuentes

Karen Fuentes is the founder and director of the Manta Caribbean Project, a non-profit organization established in Isla Mujeres, Mexico in 2015. Its mission consists of protecting mobulid rays (giant manta & devil rays) species through research and conservation within the Mexican Caribbean, generating and providing knowledge of these endangered species to influence policy-making, reflecting the conservation benefit livelihoods local and sustainable management of marine resources through collaborative work with local fishers communities and other key stakeholders.

The Manta Caribbean Project works from different approaches to address regional aspects of cohabitating marine ecosystems with local communities and mobula rays. Currently, this organization focuses on monitoring manta and devil rays within Marine Protected Areas in the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, bycatch in small-scale fisheries (SSF), ghost gear project, capacity building focused on data collection related social aspects of fisheries and education training. Furthermore, unifying efforts with our international collaborators for a global impact towards the conservation of these endangered species of rays.

Instagram: Manta Caribbean Project @mantamexicocaribe


David Coffey

As a photojournalist and videographer, David Coffey leads a team of visual artists who strive to build connections between humanity and the natural world.

David champions visual storytelling as the most effective way to create empathy for the environment above and below the waterline, especially by capturing moments and animals that most of us don’t get to see up close. Photography not only captures a moment in time but also sparks questions, conversations and passion that are essential for conservation efforts to keep evolving.

David has been leading the visual team at the National Aquarium since 2015, following his first year as a photographer and videographer for the organization. Highlights of his role include documenting student trips to ecosystems from Maine to the Florida Keys, capturing conservation efforts across the United States and sharing the incredible amount of care and effort that goes into caring for the National Aquarium’s finned and feathered living ocean ambassadors.

Instagram: @nationalaquarium



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