Mustard, 43 from Peterborough, received the accolade in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2018.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s leading underwater photographers, Mustard’s enthusiasm for capturing ocean diversity dates back to the age of just 9 years old. Turning passion into profession, he has worked as a full time underwater photographer for 14 years.
“I really had no clue that this was in the works, it was a total and wonderful surprise when I opened the letter,” says Mustard. “I had to read it over several times before I could believe it. Then there was the agonising few weeks sitting on the news before I could finally tell anyone.”
Crocodile in mangroves. A split level photo of an American crocodile floating at the surface over a shallow seagrass meadow, close to mangroves in Cuba © Alex Mustard
Mustard’s photographs have won many prestigious awards in the biggest nature photography contests, including regular success in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
In 2013, he was named European Wildlife Photographer of the Year by the GDT (the Society of German Nature Photographers) for his image Night Moves, the only time an underwater photograph has ever achieved this award.
Leafy portrait. A portrait of a leafy seadragon in Australia © Alex Mustard
As well as photography, he is a frequent contributor to publications in the marine, wildlife and diving sectors. His authored books include The Art of Diving and Secrets of the Sea.
Mustard is also the inventor of the ‘Magic Filter’, a filter specifically designed for available light underwater photography with digital cameras.
Comorant hunt. A Brandt's cormorant hunts for a meal in a school of Pacific chub mackerel, beneath an oil rig © Alex Mustard
He adds, “I am sure it will benefit me going forward, bring more attention to my work, the stories I want to tell and the ocean conservation issues I am trying to raise awareness of, but I also hope it brings a few new people to try exploring our seas, or to pick up a camera and communicate their passion for wildlife.”
See more of Mustard’s photographs on his website.