"Sweet Lips are for Kissing": The man behind the Comedy Wildlife pouting Boxfish photo.

German photographer, Philipp Stahr's pouting Boxfish is one 42 funny finalists for the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021.

Philipps' hilarious underwater image is Pix Magazine's top pic for this award.

With 42 finalists this year, the Comedy Wildlife Awards bent the rules due to an overwhelming number and quality of images, with more than 7000 submitted.

"Whittling down the list of photographs was harder than ever this year," co-founder Tom Sullam said.

"There were so many funny pictures that had us laughing that we couldn't settle on a top 40 - so we're releasing the top 42 instead!"

The professional scuba diver and photographer captured his brilliant photo in Westpunt, Curaçao.

"Box fishes are difficult to take pictures of since they do not have a problem of a diver coming close, but if you show interest, they always turn the back and not the face to you," Philipp told the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

"I tried to swim 0.5m above the fish and showing no interest at all to him. The same time I had my camera not in front of me, but below at my chest pointing to the bottom.

"When the right moment had come, I turned the camera 90 degrees to the front and just point and shoot, hoping to have the fish in focus.

"Never expected to have its beautiful lips that close!"

Philipp started his journey in 2010 when he took his first scuba diving trip in Thailand during a trip around the world.

"Since this day, the underwater world became my second home."

Making a new diving friend in 2013, Philipp was introduced to underwater photography and eventually took a camera on a diving trip in 2017.

"As long as I remember I never had fun taking pictures on my journeys, but bringing a camera underwater and have the opportunity to show my family and friends where I spend my time when I disappear for weeks and months during the years has become a new challenge and passion."

After starting out with a Canon G7X Mark II, Philipp invested in a Sony Alpha A6400 two years ago.

Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to put his new camera to much use due to the pandemic preventing him from diving for the past year and a half.

Philipp has had the opportunity to visit dive sites in Germany, the Red Sea in Egypt, Sinai and Israel, the Philippines, the Maldives, the Netherlands Antilles, Thailand, and his favourite being Indonesia.

"It gives me the opportunity to take wide angle shots of colourful reefs and massive sea creatures.

"But if you are able to sharpen your eye and being a patient diver, the underwater world of Indonesia will reward you with a never ending option of macro life, always surprise you with new colours, shapes and uniquely sized."

Philipp uses a plastic underwater housing from Fantasea with INON parts, which he says is a 'major benefit' due to plastic being lighter for travelling.

With all of Philipp's camera gear, from external strobes to his multiple lenses adding up to 16kg, and his diving equipment weighing 18kg, it's important to pick the lightest gear possible.

Philipp's camera kit includes his Sony Alpha, a Sigma 16mm f/1.4 lens for wide angle, Sigma 10mm F/2.8 for fisheye shots, and a Canon EF-S 60mm F/2.8 USM Macro lens.

Good luck to Philipp Stahr in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

Don't forget to vote for your favourite comedy wildlife 2021 photo here.

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