In a mesmerizing capture of the underwater world, in waters off Pangatalan Island, in the Philippines, Laurent Ballesta has been crowned the Wildlife Photographer of the Year for 2023. His stunning image features a golden horseshoe crab embracing the tranquil ocean floor, while three small Pilot fish closely track its movements, anticipating an opportunity for a meal in the sediment.
Laurent Ballesta, was honoured and recognized at a prestigious gala dinner held at London's renowned Natural History Museum.
This remarkable shot not only showcases the beauty of our oceans but also carries a crucial message about conservation. It highlights the importance of protecting these ancient and enigmatic creatures, which have roamed the seas for over 100 million years.
Laurent Ballesta's work embodies the essence of what the judges sought in a winning image: aesthetics, the perfect moment, a compelling narrative, and a conservation message. There's an otherworldly luminosity to his picture that draws you in, making it seem as though an alien is gliding across the seafloor.
‘To see a horseshoe crab so vibrantly alive in its natural habitat, in such a hauntingly beautiful way, was astonishing. We are looking at an ancient species, highly endangered, and also critical to human health. This photo is luminescent.’ - Chair of the jury and editor, Kathy Moran
This remarkable photograph serves as a powerful reminder of the interconnectedness of our planet's ecosystems and the vital role that creatures like the horseshoe crab play in maintaining the health of our oceans and even our own health.
Credits: BBC, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Facebook page, Photo Laurent Ballesta