Under Antarctic ice

Laurent BallestaPortfolio Award

An underwater photographer and biologist, Laurent has led a series of major expeditions, all involving scientific mysteries and diving challenges and all resulting in unprecedented images.

He has won multiple prizes in Wildlife Photographer of the Year, including the Grand Title award in 2021. His expedition to Antarctica, exploring its vast underwater biodiversity, took two years to plan, a team of expert divers and a specially developed kit. His 32 dives in water temperatures of -1.7˚C included the deepest, longest dive ever made in Antarctica. Competition judge Jen Guyton said, 'This portfolio is otherworldly, the images like something from another planet. It's beautiful, cohesive and shows us something most of us have never seen before. It's a reminder that our oceans are still full of discoveries to be made and surprises to be found, and that they must be protected.'

Behind the lens

Laurent Ballesta

Laurent Ballesta


Laurent has authored 13 photography books on underwater wildlife. As co-founder of Andromède Océanologie, he’s been leading major expeditions for 10 years. He illustrates the underwater world as both a naturalist and an artist, whether that be capturing the first images of a coelacanth taken by a diver at a depth of 120 metres, documenting 700 sharks off Fakarava hunting at night or photographing the deepest and longest dive in Antarctica.

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