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Curious octopus snaps a selfie to win first place in underwater photo contest

An Australian photographer won the prize, but the octopus deserves a share of the winnings.

Photographer Gaetano Dario Gargiulo won the best-of-show award for this image of a curious octopus interacting with the camera. Gargiulo's young son is also visible in the background.
Gaetano Dario Gargiulo

Selfies are an accepted part of photography these days, so why shouldn't sea creatures get into the act? An octopus managed to take its own photo and win Gaetano Dario Gargiulo the best-of-show award. It also took first place in the wide-angle category in the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition, organized by the Underwater Photography Guide. Despite the travel challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, photographers from 80 countries submitted thousands of images in the ninth annual contest.

Gargiulo took the photo in a shallow part of a tide pool in Kamay Botany Bay National Park, in New South Wales, Australia, and says he had no idea the octopus was going to manipulate his camera.

"I placed my camera near its den and the octopus started interacting with it," he said. "It came completely out of the den and to our amazement it started shooting pictures!" Gargiulo notes that his three-year-old son is visible in the background of the image.

Over $45,000 in prizes are awarded in the contest, including dive vacations and travel and photo gift certificates.

"My only concern is that the octopus should get its share of the prize, as it did assist in taking the shot," said Underwater Photography Guide publisher Scott Gietler.

Other winning images show mating crabs, a male seahorse hatching babies from his pouch and a menacing-looking crocodile in need of an orthodontist.

Check out more of the winning images in our gallery.