Dancing Octopus: the winning UPY 2017 photo by Gabriel Barathieu | Photo: Gabriel Barathieu/UPY

Gabriel Barathieu has been named Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) 2017. His photo was chosen among 4,500 shots taken by professionals from 67 countries.

The French lensman won the award for his "Dancing Octopus," a stunning, vivid, and eye-catching picture of an octopus swimming in the island of Mayotte, off the coast of southeast Africa.

"I was surprised and proud when I received the email from [judge] Peter announcing that I was the winner of UPY 2017. I just couldn't believe it, so I asked him to confirm it was true," revealed Barathieu.

The Underwater Photography Competition dates back to 1965 when British diving legend Bernard Eaton organized the inaugural Brighton Underwater Film Festival.

Fifty years later, judges Alex Mustard, Martin Edge, and Peter Rowlands decided to revive the award and kicked off an international underwater photography contest headquartered in Britain.

"The way it moves is so different from any predator on land; this truly could be an alien from another world. A truly memorable creature, beautifully photographed," the judges underlined.

"Add the right choice of lens for the situation, and they all combine to produce a champion. As soon as we first set eyes on it as we worked our way through the Wide Angle Cat, we knew it was destined for a huge success."

Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017 | Winners

Underwater Photographer of the Year: Gabriel Barathieu, "Dancing Octopus"
British Underwater Photographer of the Year: Nick Blake, "Out of the Blue"
Up and coming Underwater Photographer of the Year: Horacio Martinez, "Oceanic in the Sky"
Most Promising British Underwater Photographer of the Year: Nicholai Georgiou, "Orca Pod"
Wide Angle: Ron Watkins, "One in a Million"
Macro: So Yat Wai, "Prey?"
Wrecks: Csaba Tökölyi, "The wreck of the Louilla at sunset"
Behaviour: Qing Lin, "Your home and my home"
Portrait: Lorincz Ferenc, "Face to face"
Compact: Jenny Stromvoll, "I’ve got my eye on you!"
Up & Coming: Horacio Martinez, "Oceanic in the Sky"
British Waters Wide Angle: Melvin Redeker, "Eye to eye"
British Waters Macro: Kirsty Andrews, "Dragon display"
British Waters Compact: Simon Yates, "Scottish Fireworks Anemone"