Brian Skerry was a boy from a small, working-class town in Massachusetts who had a big dream: to explore the mystery and beauty of the oceans with a camera. Forty years later, Brian has spent more than 10,000 hours under water and he is one of the top ocean photographers in the world. He has a string of awards to his name, including a Peter Benchley Award for Excellence in Media and the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.
Brian is working on his 28th story for National Geographic, where he has been a contract photographer since 1998. He has covered the harp seal’s struggle to survive in frozen waters, to the plight of the right whale, to the alarming decrease in the world’s fisheries. 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. His cover story in the February 2017 issue of National Geographic, about protecting special underwater ecosystems in U.S. waters, featured the first-ever images of a U.S. president underwater.
Photography is perhaps the most powerful tool that conservation has because most people don’t have the privilege of spending a great deal of time in nature, especially under water.
Skerry has also contributed to numerous other magazines, including Sports Illustrated, BBC Wildlife, and Smithsonian. He frequently lectures on photography and conservation issues, and has presented at venues such as the United National General Assembly, the World Economic Forum in Davos, TED Talks and the Royal Geographical Society in London. He is also a regular guest on programs such as NBC's Today and CBS This Morning.
After four 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.”
When on land, he makes his home on the coast of Maine, not far from where his dream of being an ocean photographer began.
Find out about upcoming programs and expeditions with National Geographic photographers, view more work, or purchase a print by Brian Skerry.