Culture / Art Republik

Laurent Ballesta awarded distinction at Wildlife Photographer of the Year

French photographer Laurent Ballesta’s ‘Gombessa Project’ photograph, supported by major partner Blancpain, was awarded a distinction at the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

Oct 31, 2017 | By Ilyda Chua

Laurent Ballesta at WPL awards ceremony

French marine scientist and underwater photographer Laurent Ballesta emerged with a distinction in the ‘Earth’s Environments’ category of the 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, the largest of its kind in the world.

Shot as part of his ‘Gombessa III — Antartica!’ expedition, Ballesta’s winning photograph shows for the first time the entire submerged part of an iceberg. His ‘Gombessa Project’, which began with a search for the reclusive and legendary coelacanth, has been supported by Swiss watch manufacturer and designer Blancpain since 2013.

Now in its 53rd year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is owned and run by the National History Museum in London, and is the longest-running and most prestigious nature photography competition in the world. It uses photography as a medium to promote sustainability and the conservation of wildlife.


As part of ‘Gombessa III’, Ballesta travelled to Antartica for his pioneering exploratory, diving and photographic expedition, plunging beneath the sea ice to produce the very first naturalist images of Antartica’s deep-sea ecosystems. The winning photograph, ‘Hidden Face of the Iceberg’, depicts a sperical iceberg shown in its entirety, illuminated in a ghostly blue-green light — a feat which Ballesta calls “a much dreamt-of vision transformed into a reality.”

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