Portraits of Planet Ocean: The Photography of Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry can be called many things – explorer, journalist, conservation advocate – but he is first and foremost a photographer. His journeys to capture amazing underwater photographs have taken him across the world’s oceans, where he has witnessed some of the most beautiful, diverse, and threatened environments on the planet. Read more about his adventures with sharks and life in the field on his blog.

We asked for your votes to choose the five photos that best represent a "vanishing world" for a crowd-curated section of the exhibit. They, along with 15 of Brian's other photographs, were displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC from September 17, 2013 through October 4, 2015. Hear from Skerry about capturing some of the images for the exhibit and see what photos won, and what didn't

Two additional ocean exhibits also opened in September 2013: "Fragile Beauty: The Art & Science of Sea Butterflies," which shares the story of how ocean acidification is affecting sea butterflies, and the "Living on an Ocean Planet" gallery, which focuses on the human relationship with the ocean. Their opening coincides with the five-year anniversary of the opening of the Sant Ocean Hall.

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Brian Skerry flickr page

You can see beautiful images of ocean wildlife that were submitted to our Flickr group! The best photos, chosen by Brian Skerry himself along with museum curators, were displayed at the exhibit in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Read the stories behind some of these photos on our blog. 

Learn more about the fascinating career of the award-winning photojournalist Brian Skerry.

Skerry is a regular contributor to the Smithsonian Ocean Portal, sharing his personal experiences, adventures, and fantastic images with you. Explore the latest blogs by Brian Skerry.

- Brian shares some of the stories behind photos of manatees, turtles and sharks on display in "Portraits of Planet Ocean."

- From the Azores, Brian writes about a photographer's life in the field.

- How does he craft the perfect underwater photo?

- The only way to take amazing photos of sharks is to go swimming with them.


Copyright © Brian Skerry

Purchase Ocean Soul, featuring the work of Brian Skerry, at the National Geographic store.

Photo Gallery

Image Gallery: Swimming with Sharks

An oceanic whitetip shark swims near a biologist in the Bahamas.

More Information

Brian Skerry's WebsiteBrian's TED TalkLeatherback Turtle article, featuring Brian Skerry's workRight Whale article, featuring Brian Skerry's workFisheries article, featuring Brian Skerry's workCoral Reef bleaching article, featuring Brian Skerry's work