Ocean Conservancy Annual Photo Contest

Meet our 2021 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 2021 Photo Contest: the Judges’ Choice Award.

Benny Blanco

Benny Blanco

An award-winning conservationist, tournament-winning fishing guide, ardent mentor and acclaimed television host, Captain Benny Blanco spends most of his time fighting for clean water initiatives to protect and restore Florida’s world-class fisheries. Fed up with inaction, he set out to change the culture in the fishing industry and interjected himself into every available opportunity to speak up. Setting the example by holding the industry accountable and asking his peers to get involved, he plays an instrumental role in forcing the topic of water quality to the forefront of conversation everywhere. Benny is a key ambassador for organizations like Captains for Clean Water, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and the Everglades Foundation, to name a few. When he isn’t in Tallahassee or Washington D.C., you can find him on the pristine flats of Biscayne Bay or the farthest reaches of Everglades National Park. Guiding Flow TV was born from Benny’s deep passion for these places and the desire to empower our communities to become their stewards.

Lewis Burnett

LewisBurnett (1)
© Courtesy of Lewis Burnett

Lewis Burnett is a wildlife and travel photographer based out of Australia’s South-West. Originally from Scotland, he was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by the rolling hills and forests that the country is famous for, planting the seed young for a life lived in nature. Lewis’ teenage years were spent in Australia’s stunning South-West, nurturing his love for all things salty and wild. Since finishing university in 2015, he has spent his time exploring the far-flung corners of the world in search of his version of paradise.

​Lewis believes that our society has lost the vital connection with the natural world that allows us to not just survive on this crazy planet, but thrive. He hopes that by capturing the endless beauty that nature has to offer he will inspire people to live a more simple, happy and environmentally conscious life. For more of Lewis’ work follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Jasmin Graham

Jasmin Graham
© Courtesy of Jasmin Graham

Jasmin Graham is a marine biologist and environmental educator who specializes in elasmobranch (shark and ray) ecology and evolution. Her research interests include smalltooth sawfish movement ecology and hammerhead shark phylogeny. She is a member of the American Elasmobranch Society and serves on their Student Affairs Committee as the Early Career Representative. Jasmin has a passion for science education and making science more accessible to everyone. She is project coordinator for the MarSci-LACE project, which is focused on researching and promoting best practices to recruit, support and retain minority students in marine science. Jasmin is the CEO of Minorities in Shark Sciences, an organization dedicated to supporting women of color in shark sciences. She is excited to help open doors for more underrepresented minority students to join the exciting field of marine science. Jasmin’s work encompasses the areas of science communication, social justice, outreach, education and conservation. She cares deeply about protecting endangered and vulnerable marine species, particularly elasmobranchs. She works in collaboration with Havenworth Coastal Conservation to study movements of elasmobranchs in Sarasota Bay. She has been featured on “Dive In with Sylvia Earle” and “StarTalk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson” as well as several other podcasts and webinar series. She was also an organizer for the 2020 “Black in Marine Science Week” and is a member of Black Women in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Science (BWEEMS). Jasmin graduated from the College of Charleston in 2017 with a B.S. in Marine Biology and a B.A. in Spanish. She went on to receive her MSc. in Biological Science from Florida State University in 2020 through the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Acacia Johnson

© Courtesy of Acacia Johnson

Acacia Johnson is a photographer and writer from Alaska whose work explores human relationships to the natural world. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014, Acacia received a Fulbright grant to spend a winter on Canada’s Baffin Island, where she developed a love for the Arctic that still influences her work today. Since then, she has made more than 50 expeditions to the Polar Regions for work as an expedition guide and photographer. Her photographs and writing are an effort to inspire wonder, understanding and compassion for the earth’s wild places during a time of dramatic climatic and social change.

Acacia’s work is housed in collections including the Anchorage Museum and the Smithsonian Museum of American History and has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times, TIME, The Guardian, and many others. For more of her work, visit her website at acaciajohnson.com or her Instagram, @acacia.johnson.

Andrew Wu

© Courtsey of Andrew Wu

Andrew’s trigger words include “Macro,” “Nudibranchs” and “Blackwater” … mention these and he will talk your ears off!

Picking up a camera shortly after his first dives and passionate to spread his love for the ocean, Andrew soon understood how a powerful image can be used to excite and inspire those around him to explore and learn to love the world around us. He continually experiments with creative techniques to create impactful images which motivate people to play their part in conservation.

Check out his Instagram (@thenamelessbear) for a dip into the world of the weird and wonderful!


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