Collective Portfolio Award 2021

Words by Oceanographic staff

Awarded to the photographer who most convincingly showcases a long-held commitment to ocean conservation through a striking body of work – strong enough to take up a one-year residency as a member of the SeaLegacy Collective, where their work will sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the judges’ photography. A total of ten images must be submitted, taken at any time during the photographer’s working life.

Stefan Christmann is a nature photographer and filmmaker from Germany, who has wintered twice in Antarctica. He is mostly known for his intimate photographs of the emperor penguin colony in Atka Bay and being part of the BBC film team that filmed the emperor penguin episode for BBC Dynasties.

With the poetry of his images and his emotional stories about the continent at the end of the world, Christmann wants to reveal the special beauty and vulnerability of the Polar Regions. His active educational work is intended to benefit not only the emperor penguins, but also their endangered Antarctic habitat. 

Images, from top to bottom:

  1. A lonely chick standing on the ice-shelf, as the sea-ice broke up too early.

  2. Two emperor penguin fathers meet on the sea ice, showing their offspring.

  3. A returning female calling for her mate upon her arrival at the colony.

  4. Male emperor penguins huddling during polar night, to stay warm as a group.

  5. The emperor penguin egg is bred by the fathers and carried on their feet.

  6. Two emperor penguins mating. The male is climbing onto the female.

  7. Emperor penguins returning to the breeding grounds at the end of summer.

  8. Two emperor penguin parents shielding their young chick from the drifting snow.

  9. When both parents are foraging, their chicks gather in creches, or mini huddles.

  10. In late spring, the emperor penguin colony almost mainly consists of chicks.

To see all of this year’s Collective Portfolio finalists, visit

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