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Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine covering a wide range of subjects and stories.
An award-winning photographer, Brian is praised worldwide for his aesthetic sense as well as his journalistic drive for relevance. His uniquely-creative images tell stories that not only celebrate the mystery and beauty of the sea, but also help bring attention to the large number of issues that endanger our oceans and its inhabitants.
Unique within the field of underwater photography is Brian’s ability to pursue subjects of great diversity. His nearly year-round assignment schedule frequently finds him in environments of extreme contrast from tropical coral reefs to diving beneath polar ice. While on assignment he has lived on the bottom of the sea, spent months aboard fishing boats and traveled in everything from snowmobiles to canoes to the Goodyear Blimp to get the picture. He has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater over the last thirty years.
For National Geographic Magazine (NGM), Brian has covered a wide range of stories, from the harp seal’s struggle to survive in frozen waters to the alarming decrease in the world’s fisheries, both cover stories.
Other NGM features have focused on subjects such as the planet's last remaining pristine coral reefs, the plight of the right whale, sharks of the Bahamas, marine reserves, sea turtles and squid. He is currently at work on his 20th NGM story.
Brian has also worked on assignment for or had images featured in magazines such as Sports Illustrated, US News and World Report, BBC Wildlife, GEO, Smithsonian, Esquire, Audubon, Men's Journal and in countless publications worldwide. His latest monograph, Ocean Soul, was released by National Geographic Books in November 2011.
Brian frequently lectures on photography and conservation issues having presented at venues such as TED Talks, Harvard University, The National Press Club in Washington, DC and the Royal Geographical Society in London. He is also a regular guest on programs such as NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s Sunday Morning, and ABC’s Good Morning America.
After three decades of exploring the world’s oceans, Skerry continues to pursue stories that will increase awareness about the sea. “The oceans are in trouble. There are some serious problems out there that I believe are not clear to many people. My hope is to continually find new ways of creating images and stories that both celebrate the sea yet also highlight environmental problems. Photography can be a powerful instrument for change.”
A few years ago, I was in New Zealand photographing a story about the value of marine reserves (a type of marine protected area). My last location was a...
Editor's Note: These images and more can be seen at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., as a part of the larger exhibit "Portraits of Planet Ocean: The...