S'porean underwater photographer wins Asia Dive Expo's Photo of the Year for 2nd consecutive time

Submitted by Stomper Toh

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He is only 28.

But Singaporean photographer XJ Toh has already won Photo of the Year at the Asia Dive Expo (Adex) Voice of the Ocean competition twice.

"I am proud to be the first Singaporean and youngest-ever winner to take home the coveted prize, not once but twice in a row," said XJ.

Below are the two photos that won him the honour, both taken at Anilao, Philippines.

This year's Adex event was held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre from March 31 to April 2.

He said that winning at Adex was a life-changing experience.

"For the competition, photos are not allowed to be edited and should come straight from the camera," said XJ, who has his own studio called Ugly Carrot.

"I started my journey in underwater photography in June last year, which may seem like a short time, but it was filled with hard work, dedication and an unwavering passion for capturing the beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants.

"Even though I was aware that underwater photographers were typically older and more experienced, I was not deterred from pursuing my passion. I believe that age should not be a limiting factor when it comes to achieving our dreams.

"I hope that by sharing my story, I can inspire others, especially the younger generation, to chase their dreams no matter what."

His work has been featured in Scuba Diver Ocean Planet magazine as one of 101 inspiring award-winning images.

"I am deeply passionate about conservation and sustainability," said the photographer.

"I hope that through my photography, I can raise awareness of the urgent need to protect our declining oceans and their inhabitants. It is our responsibility to safeguard the beauty and wonder of the ocean for future generations to enjoy."