ExplorersBio

Brian Skerry

Photojournalist

Photography Fellow

Picture of a diver next to a whale

Photograph by Brian Skerry

Picture of Brian Skerry

Photograph by Mauricio Handler

Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine, covering a wide range of subjects and stories.

An award-winning photographer, Skerry is praised worldwide for his aesthetic sense, as well as for 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 to bring attention to the large number of issues that endanger our ocean and its inhabitants.

His nearly year-round assignment schedule frequently brings him to extremely contrasting environments, from tropical coral reefs to 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 past 30 years.

Skerry has covered a wide range of stories for National Geographic, from the harp seal's struggle to survive in frozen waters to the alarming decrease in the world's fisheries, both of which were cover stories. Other features have focused on subjects such as the planet's last remaining pristine coral reefs, the plight of the right whale, bluefin tuna, marine reserves, sea turtles, and squid. His next feature to appear in the magazine will focus on dolphin cognition, and he is currently at work on four new stories about sharks. His latest monograph, Ocean Soul, has received worldwide acclaim.

Skerry frequently lectures on photography and conservation issues, having presented at venues such as TED Talks, the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Royal Geographical Society in London, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. He is also the explorer-in-residence at the New England Aquarium in Boston, a marine fellow with Conservation International, and a member of the World Wildlife Fund's National Council.

In 2010 National Geographic magazine named one of Skerry's images among their 50 Greatest Photographs of All Time. He has had recent exhibits at Visa Pour l'Image in Perpignan, France, as well as in cities such as Geneva, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Shanghai. In 2012 he was honored with the Peter Benchley Award for excellence in media. An exhibit of his work is currently open at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Skerry's Site

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In Their Words

After 30 years of exploring the ocean I never cease to be amazed at the extraodinary encounters that I have while I'm at sea.

—Brian Skerry

More of Brian Skerry's Work

  • Picture of a dolphin and calf

    The "Afghan Girl" Dolphin

    See Brian Skerry's encounter with a wild dolphin first photographed for a 1992 National Geographic cover.

  • Photo: Kingman reef underwater

    Kingman Reef Sharks

    Marine ecologist Enric Sala and photographer Brian Skerry find sharks—lots of them—around a pristine reef.

  • sea-monsters-promo-vin.jpg

    Swimming With Sea Monsters

    Watch Brian Skerry describe swimming with hundreds of gigantic Humboldt squid.

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