Meet the Man Who Has Spent 10,000 Hours Underwater

Brian Skerry’s images of marine life help raise awareness and promote conservation of the oceans.

This story appears in the July 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Photographer Brian Skerry, who has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater exploring the world’s oceans with a camera, is the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year for 2017.

The award honors individuals who make scientific discoveries and share them to benefit the world. It is presented by Rolex, which recently entered into a new partnership with National Geographic to support exploration.

Skerry, 55, is internationally known for his images of undersea wildlife and environments. A National Geographic photographer for two decades and a National Geographic photography fellow since 2014, he currently is at work on his 25th feature story for the magazine.

“Brian’s images tell stories that celebrate the mystery and beauty of the ocean while bringing attention to the issues that threaten it,” says National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell. To capture those images, Knell says, “Brian has lived on the bottom of the sea, spent months aboard fishing boats, and traveled in everything from snowmobiles to the Goodyear blimp.”

Skerry is a founding fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. He lectures widely on photography and conservation and has authored 10 books.

Rolex and National Geographic are longtime collaborators on the Explorer of the Year award, which is presented each June during the Society’s Explorers Festival in Washington, D.C.

“We want our families, for generations to come, to be able to rely on and enjoy our oceans. This is what drives Brian,” Knell says. “It’s about giving a voice to the sea and its creatures, many of which are endangered.”

Read This Next

Ötzi the Iceman: What we know 30 years after his discovery
Sanctuary gives hope to chimps, rescuers
Golden hour dazzles at these 10 national parks

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet