Finalist Fine Art Photographer of the Year
Celia Kujala British Columbia, Canada
"As I descended on my dive at Norris Rocks in British Columbia, I saw Steller sea lions circling me," says Kujala. "They approached curiously and stared at me with their large, soulful eyes. I had observed groups of them before and had an image in my mind I wanted to capture. When a group of them approached me, I had the chance and everything came together perfectly. Sadly, Steller sea lions are listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List. I hope the image of this curious and playful group conveys their beauty and magic and inspires their conservation."
BEHIND THE LENS
Celia Kujala United States (US)
ABOUT THE IMAGE
- Overcast conditions
- Mid-morning shoot
- Site accessed by boat
- Good visibility
Celia Kujala is an international award-winning wildlife and underwater photographer born and currently living in New York City. From the moment she saw California sea lions for the first time at the Prospect Park Zoo at fourteen months old, she felt a special bond with them. However, it wasn’t until she got scuba certified and started underwater photography in 2017 that she felt she found her true calling. A researcher by trade, she strives to learn everything she can about her subjects before she meets them in order to accurately and intimately tell their stories. After a few days of observation, she usually connects with her subjects in a way that seems magical. It is this connection she wishes to share. Currently, she is working on her project Seal Peace about pinnipeds around the world. She is honored to be a member of the Explorers Club and Ocean Artists Society.
IMAGES BY Celia Kujala
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