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Brian Skerry        

National Geographic Magazine Photographer, Specializing in Marine Wildlife & the Underwater World; Exploration & Conservation Speaker

Brian Skerry is a photojournalist and film producer specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine, covering stories on every continent and in nearly every ocean habitat. In 2014 he was named as a National Geographic Society Photography Fellow and then named a National Geographic Society Storytelling Fellow in 2017. In 2017 he was also awarded the title of Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.

For National Geographic Magazine, Skerry has produced 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, to dolphin intelligence. During his coverage of a story entitled Saving Our Oceans, Skerry produced the first images of a sitting US President underwater. He has had six NGM cover stories (US) and dozens worldwide. He is currently at work on his 30th feature story for NGM.

Skerry’s work has also been featured in publications such as The NY Times, The Washington Post, Paris Match, Esquire, and Audubon. He is the author of 12 books including the acclaimed monographs "Ocean Soul" and "SHARK." His latest book, "Secrets of the Whales," was released in April 2021 by National Geographic as part of a multiplatform project he created that also includes a cover story in National Geographic magazine and a 4-part documentary film series, streaming on Disney +, that won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary.

Skerry is an 11-time award winner in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and has also been recognized with awards from Pictures of the Year International, Nature’s Best and Communication Arts. He the only photographer to win the coveted Peter Benchley Award for Excellence in Media. In 2010 National Geographic magazine named one of Skerry’s images among their 50 Greatest Photographs of All Time and in 2016 he was awarded the National Geographic Photographer’s Photographer Award, an honor bestowed by his colleagues, other National Geographic photographers. The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences awarded Skerry the 2019 NOGI Award for Arts, an award frequently referred to as the ‘Underwater Oscar,’ and in 2020 he received the President’s Award from the Conservation Law Foundation. In May 2021 Skerry was awarded the title Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Worcester State University in Massachusetts.

Skerry frequently lectures on ocean exploration, storytelling and conservation, having presented at venues such as The United Nations General Assembly, The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, TED Talks, The National Press Club in Washington, DC, The Royal Geographical Society in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

He has had numerous solo photographer exhibits including ‘Portraits of Planet Ocean,’ a two-year exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC and ‘Ocean Soul’ at Visa pour l’image in Perpignan, France. Other exhibits of his work have been held in cities worldwide including Geneva, Barcelona, Sharjah, Lisbon, and Shanghai.

Skerry is the Explorer-In-Residence and a Trustee at the New England Aquarium, a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and a Fellow National of The Explorers Club. He also serves as a Nikon Ambassador.

Speech Topics


A Day at the Office

For Skerry, a day at the office might mean watching his boat sink, being nipped by sharks, getting chased by a sperm whale, or tangling with giant squid. The keys to success in the business of ocean exploration and wildlife photography are disciplines that translate to any business: setting goals, managing risks, working with team members of varying skill levels and backgrounds, and solving problems on the fly. Dive into a day in the life of an underwater photographer as he explores some universal business challenges.

Ocean Soul

In the last 50 years, 90 percent of the big fish in the ocean have disappeared. Over 100 million sharks are taken annually and species of whales and sea turtles are on the brink of extinction. In his trademark presentation, Skerry showcases his stunning photography and describes his adventurous life in a gripping portrait of the ocean as a place of beauty and mystery, a place in trouble, and ultimately, a place of hope that will rebound with the proper attention and care.

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