2017 Judges

DAVID DOUBILET (United States)

David Doubilet is one of the world’s most celebrated underwater photographers known primarily for his contributions for National Geographic Magazine where he has published nearly 70 stories since his first assignment in 1971. He has spent five decades under the surface in the far corners of the world from interior Africa, remote tropical coral reefs, rich temperate seas and recent projects in the northern and southern ice.
David is also a contributing editor for several publications and an author of 12 titles including the award-winning Water Light Time. His photographic awards include numerous Picture of the Year, BBC Wildlife, Communication Arts and World Press awards. David is a member of the Academy of Achievement, Royal Photographic Society, International League of Conservation Photographers, International Diving Hall of Fame and a Trustee of the Shark Research Institute. David was named a National Geographic Contributing Photographer-in-Residence in 2001. He is honored to be a Rolex Ambassador and recipient of the prestigious Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award and Lennart Nilsson Award for Scientific Photography. David co-owns a studio and stock photography company, Undersea Images Inc. in Clayton, NY with his equally talented wife, Jennifer Hayes.


JENNIFER HAYES (United States)

Jennifer Hayes is an aquatic biologist and photojournalist specializing in natural history and marine environments. Jen Hayes collaborates with her husband, David Doubilet on various underwater project development, story production, feature articles and books. National Geographic assignments have taken them around the globe from Africa’s Okavango Delta, through tropical and temperate seas to the poles.  Jennifer is the editor and author of numerous articles on marine environments, with images appearing in countless books, advertising campaigns and publications such as National Geographic Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Sport Diver, DIVE Magazine, Diver, People Magazine, Alert Diver and Ocean Geographic. She is co-author / photographer for Face to Face with Sharks by National Geographic Books and an honorary editor for Ocean Geographic Magazine. In addition, she is a Trustee for the Shark Research Institute and a Fellow National member of the Explorers Club. New York.


SCOTT “GUTSY” TUASON (Philippines)

Scott was first handed his underwater camera at the age of 16 though he started diving before he even hit puberty. Decades later he’s still a passionate photographer, and the element of doing things just at the edge characterizes how he gets his images. His photography has won awards, notably the Palme D’or at Antibes festival for his co- authored book Anilao in 2000, his current book Blackwater / Open Blue encompasses images taken in open ocean either at night or during the day. Scott lives in Manila, Philippines with his wife Audrey and kids Tica, Sharkey, and Ocean.



In his childhood Tobias Friedrich loved to watch the adventures of the Calypso with Jacques-Yves Cousteau as its captain and the beauty of the world that is below the ocean’s surface. It’s still an overwhelming feeling for him when he has the chance to dive. He loves the elegance and calmness of the world under water standing in contrast to the hectic atmosphere above.
Tobias Friedrich lives in Germany and started taking pictures with a DSLR underwater in the year 2007. Since then his images have been published in prestigious scuba diving magazines such as US Sport DiverUnterwasserTauchenScuba Diver Through The Lens and many others (References). Several underwater photographic competitions, including Smithsonian’s Ocean ViewsOcean ArtEpson Red SeaBeneath the Sea, and Celebrate the Sea also have honoured his work as well (Awards). He is always passionate for new challenges and up for new, creative ways in underwater photography. He is using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II in a SEACAM housing.


WILLIAM TAN (Singapore)

Renowned Singapore-based underwater photographer, William Tan spent much of his spare time gazing at the extensive marine collection of the National Aquarium in Baltimore when he was studying at the John Hopkins University (USA). He was certified to dive in 1994 and instantly began shooting underwater. As a violinist with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, he travels between concert seasons throughout the Pacific region photographing marine life for tourism organizations, dive magazines and resorts such as Scuba Diving, Marine Photo, Mergulho, Asian Diver, Daily Telegraph, TravelCom, EZDive, Scuba Diver Australasia, Chinese National Geographic, and more. In addition, he has already published two books, Gorontalo: Hidden Paradise and Silent Symphony.



A Cebu based marine biologist and accomplished underwater photographer, Yoshi Hirata began his passion for diving when he was researching the rich marine resources of Sipadan and Mabul back in 1993 as a marine consultant. During the course of his work, he expressed his love for the sea by featuring thousands of amazing photos of Mabul in various magazine titles such as Oraga Umi.