Brian Skerry

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.

Crabeater sealFor 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.”


Swimming With Sharks

Lying in water only a foot deep, I watched the shark meander lazily through the mangrove, already exuding the confidence inherent of the supreme creature within its domain. It was hot here in Bimini, nearly 100-degrees and...

The Perfect Underwater Photo

There is of course, no such thing as the perfect photograph, as there is no perfect song, movie, or painting. Photography by its very nature is subjective and what appeals to one viewer may not interest another. There are...

California Market Squid

Two California market squids ( Loligo opalescens ) mate in the waters off of California's Channel Islands. While spawning, the male's arms blush red as he embraces the female, a warning to other competing males to back-off...

Florida Manatee

A Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris , swims down a narrow channel into a freshwater spring late in the day.

Coral Hermit Crab

A coral hermit crab, Paguritta harmsi , about the size of two grains of rice, living in coral in the waters of Japan's Ogasawara Islands.

Moray Waits for a Meal

A yellow moray eel, Gymnothorax prasinus , inside of a sea sponge in the waters off of Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand. Photographer Brian Skerry takes an artistic eye to his underwater photography, such as the blurred...

Butterflyfish and Wrasse

A wrought iron butterflyfish , Chaetodon daedalma , being cleaned by a small wrasse in the waters of Japan's Ogasawara Islands.

Yellow Goby

A tiny yellow goby, Lubricogobius exiguus , living inside an abandoned can on the seafloor; Suruga Bay, Japan

Yellowfin Surgeonfish

A school of yellowfin surgeonfish, Acanthurus xanthopterus , feed near dusk off Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands, one of the world's largest marine protected areas.

Blue Cod Amongst Sea Pens

A blue cod and sea pens , a unique type of cnidarian , speckle the seafloor in New Zealand's Fiordland region.You can see more beautiful underwater photos from Brian Skerry in his image gallery .

Image Gallery: The Perfect Underwater Photo

For nearly 35 years, National Geographic photojournalist Brian Skerry has been immersing himself in the big blue to get the perfect underwater photograph. He admits that there will never will be a "perfect" photo, but there...

Life in the Field

To a photographer, all that matters is the image, the picture that results when the shutter is released. This is what people will see and what will remain of that moment in time, captured forever. But for wildlife...