Brian Skerry

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Brian Skerry
Brian Skerry.JPG
Skerry at Boston University, 2011
Born (1961-09-27) 27 September 1961 (age 60)
Milford, Massachusetts
OccupationUnderwater photographer
EmployerNational Geographic

Brian Skerry (born September 27, 1961) is a photographer and photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine.[1] In 2014 he was named a National Geographic Photography Fellow.[2]

Skerry is a Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers,[3] the Explorer-In-Residence at the New England Aquarium[4] and in 2015 he was named a Nikon Ambassador (United States).[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Skerry was born in Milford, Massachusetts in 1961, and grew up in Uxbridge. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in media and communications from Worcester State College in 1984. Before becoming a professional photographer, he worked selling corrugated materials and pursued photography on the side.[6] After studying at Quinsigamond Community College, where he earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts, he went on to Worcester State University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications Media.[7]


Skerry worked (unpaid) on a diving charter boat based on the coast of Rhode Island from 1982 - 1992, taking divers out to explore New England shipwrecks. His early photography focused on marine life and shipwrecks. His first published photograph was in 1984 in The Boston Globe newspaper, an image of a shipwreck in Boston Harbor.[citation needed] During the 1990s he published photos and wrote stories for a variety of scuba diving magazines. His first book was published in 1995, Complete Wreck Diving (with co-author Henry Keatts).[8] In 1996 he was the first to photograph a living Oarfish, an animal that inspired sea serpent legends.[citation needed]

Brian Skerry and Squid in the Azores, 1996

In 1998 Skerry received his first assignment for National Geographic Magazine. He has published 23 feature stories in National Geographic Magazine and contributed to 4 additional stories.[citation needed] The subjects of his stories have included species such as harp seals,[9] squid, right whales, leatherback sea turtles, bluefin tuna, dolphins and coral reefs. Other stories have featured locations such as the Southern Line Islands, Ireland, New Zealand marine reserves, the Phoenix Islands, Japan and the Mesoamerican Reef. In 2016 National Geographic published three consecutive stories photographed by Skerry about sharks (June 2016 – Tiger sharks,[10] July – Great White sharks,[11] August – Oceanic Whitetip sharks[12]). While on assignment for National Geographic on September 1, 2016, he photographed U.S. President Barack Obama snorkeling in the waters off Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, which lies within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.[13]

In 2012 Skerry partnered with the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston to create The New England Ocean Odyssey.[14] The NEOO's mission is to share stories and about marine wildlife and ecosystems in New England waters through the ongoing production of still photographs and video.

Skerry lectures on issues of photography, ocean conservation and exploration, having presented at venues including The World Economic Forum in Davos,[15] Switzerland, TED Talks,[16] The National Press Club in Washington, DC, The Royal Geographical Society in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.[citation needed] He's been a guest on several television programs including as NBC's TODAY Show and CBS's This Morning[17] and is a frequent guest on radio shows and podcasts.

Exhibits and awards[edit]

Skerry has had photographic exhibits at the photo festival Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan, France [18] and at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.[19] He is a 10-time award winner in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition (London).[20] He has also won awards from Pictures of the Year International, Nature's Best, Communication Arts [21] and in 2012 received the Peter Benchley Award for Excellence in Media.[22]

In 2012 Skerry received The Emerald Award from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science in Sydney Australia.[23] In 2010 National Geographic Magazine named one of his images among their 50 Greatest Photographs Of All Time.[24]


  • Skerry, Brian; Keatts, Henry (1995). "Complete Wreck Diving". Watersport Publishing.
  • Skerry, Brian (2000). "A Whale On Her Own: The True Story of Wilma the Beluga Whale". Blackbirch Press.
  • Skerry, Brian; Hall, Howard (2002). "Successful Underwater Photography". Amphoto Books.
  • Skerry, Brian (2010). "Face to Face With Manatees". National Geographic Children’s Books.
  • Skerry, Brian (2010). "Adventure Beneath the Sea". Boyds Mill Press.
  • Skerry, Brian (2011). "Ocean Soul". National Geographic Book Division.
  • Skerry, Brian; Arthus-Bertrand, Yann (2013). "From Above And Below – Man And The Sea". Thames & Hudson. Archived from the original on 2017-02-04. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  • Skerry, Brian (2013). "Ocean Counting". National Geographic Children’s Books.
  • Skerry, Brian (2014). The Whale Who Stole Hearts - National Geographic Children's Books. ISBN 9781426315206.
  • Skerry, Brian (2017). "Shark" [25] National Geographic
  • Skerry, Brian (2018) "The Ultimate Book of Sharks" National Geographic Kids Books [26]
  • Skerry, Brian (2021) "Secrets of the Whales" National Geographic


  1. ^ "Brian Skerry". National Geographic Society.
  2. ^ "Brian Skerry - Explorers Bio". National Geographic Society.
  3. ^ "Conservation Photographer - Brian Skerry".
  4. ^ "Celebrating New England's Unique Ocean Habitats".
  5. ^ "Nikon Ambassador (United States)".
  6. ^ Fletcher, Allen (2010-06-03). "Brian Skerry". Worcester, MA: Worcester Magazine. Archived from the original on 4 May 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Lectures with National Geographic photographer".[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Complete Wreck Diving Guide: A Guide to Diving Wrecks, By Hank Keatts & Brian Skerry".
  9. ^ "National Geographic Magazine, March 2004".
  10. ^ "National Geographic Magazine, June – Tiger sharks". National Geographic Society.
  11. ^ "National Geographic Magazine, July 2016 – Great White sharks". National Geographic Society.
  12. ^ "National Geographic Magazine, August 2016 – Oceanic Whitetip sharks". National Geographic Society.
  13. ^ "Snorkeling With the President: How Our Photographer Got the Shot". National Geographic Society.
  14. ^ "New England Ocean Odyssey".
  15. ^ "The World Economic Forum" (PDF).
  16. ^ "TED Talks".
  17. ^ "CBS's This Morning - Why great white sharks are a mystery to scientists". CBS News.
  18. ^ "Photographers - Exhibitions 2011". Archived from the original on 2017-02-04. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  19. ^ "Portraits of Planet Ocean: The Photography of Brian Skerry".
  20. ^ "Wildlife Photojournalist Award".
  21. ^ "Third Place "Secret Worlds"".
  22. ^ "Excellence in Media, 2012".
  23. ^ "2012 Emerald Dinner - a night to remember".
  24. ^ "Explorers". National Geographic Society.
  25. ^ Skerry, Brian (2017). SHARK. National Geographic. ISBN 978-1-4262-1910-8.
  26. ^ Skerry, Brian (May 15, 2018). The Ultimate Book of Sharks. ISBN 978-1426330711.

External links[edit]