Fiona Ayerst

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Fiona Ayerst
Fiona Ayerst with Nikonos.jpeg
Fiona Ayerst Johnson with camera
Born (1965-09-20) 20 September 1965 (age 54)
ResidenceMossel Bay, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
EducationNational College of Photography,
Alma materUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal
OccupationUnderwater photographer,
Shark conservation
Partner(s)Ryan Johnson
ChildrenFinn Ayerst Johnson
AwardsWinescape award (2007)
Gold medals, Canola Festival 2012
Top prize, Underwater Photography magazine[1]
Wildlife Photographer of the Year (2003)
Mossel Bay award[2]

Fiona Ayerst is a wildlife photographer based in South Africa notable for underwater photography.[3] She has swum with many species of shark, photographed them, including the macropredator Tiger shark[4][5] and the massive but tamer whale shark.[6][7][8][9] Her images have won awards in numerous photo competitions.[10] She writes for several magazines, and works as an editor for Beyond Blue magazine.[11][12] She is a proponent of protecting sharks and ocean environments.[13] Her images have appeared in magazines and newspapers worldwide, such as Time magazine,[7] as well as on magazine covers and Coffee table books featuring wildlife photography.[14] She won South Africa's 2003 Wildlife Photographer of the Year. She gave a TED talk in 2012 titled My journey into water.[15] She is a director of Africa Media.


  1. ^ Underwater Photography magazine (archive), 2007, Fiona Ayerst – World Champion 2007], Retrieved 15 August 2014, ".. top prize goes to a woman... saw a very strong entry from Fiona across all contest categories throughout the year...."
  2. ^ 13 April 2012, The Gremlin News & Information, Mossel Bay announces Responsible Tourism Photo of the Year, Retrieved 15 August 2014, "..The winning image – "Look Dad Shark" – was made by professional photographer Fiona Ayerst,..."
  3. ^ The Telegraph, 21 September 2011, Pictures of the day, Retrieved 15 August 2014, "...Underwater photographer Fiona Ayerst captures pictures of bull sharks off the coast of Mozambique, southern Africa..."
  4. ^ June/July 2009,, Riveting Shark Encounters: Fiona Ayerst recounts her magical experience with the Leander free-diving duo and gentle tiger shark in the warm silky waters of the Bahamas, Retrieved 15 August 2014
  5. ^ Note: while Tiger sharks have attacked humans in the past, such incidents are rare, and these sharks are a near-threatened species which Ayerst argues deserve protection
  6. ^ 11 Alive (TV News), Retrieved 15 August 2014, (see photos 7 and 8) "...Fearless sea-snapper, Fiona Ayerst,45, from Mossel Bay, South Africa is so dedicated to capturing up-close pictures of sharks that she literally goes head-to-head with the ocean's top predators. ... eye-popping picture she snaps a friend cheekily swimming in front of a whale shark in just a bikini...."
  7. ^ a b 4 August 2009, Time magazine, [1], Retrieved 15 August 2014, "...A 40-foot whale shark and a brave snorkler swim off the South African coast. ..."
  8. ^ Meera Dolasia, 3 July 2009, Dogo News, Er . . . . . . . Is That A Shark Behind You?, Retrieved 15 August 2014, "...Fiona Ayerst were out diving and admiring the beautiful marine life in the warm Indian Ocean waters, when Fiona, who was slightly behind Sam, noticed this Whale Shark following her friend...."
  9. ^ MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE, 1 July 2009, The Daily Mail, He's behind you! Diver's close encounter with enormous shark"...picture was taken by Miss Bester's friend Fiona Ayerst off the coast of Durban in South Africa..."
  10. ^ 18 October 2012, Africa Media, AFRICA MEDIA’S PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHER, FIONA AYERST’S IMAGE CHOSEN IN THE TOP 50 OF THE SAVE OUR SEABIRDS INTERNATIONAL PHOTO COMPETITION- “OCEANS OF LIFE”, Retrieved 15 August 2014, "...multi- award winning photographer, Fiona Ayerst , ... images nominated for an award in this prestigious competition, October 2012....Fiona's image of a pygmy seahorse ... Sulawesi,Indonesia on a night dive ... only the size of a tiny fingernail..."
  11. ^ August/September 2009,, Being the winter edition, I have some great articles lined up to both thaw and chill you in these core winter months, Retrieved 15 August 2014, "..Fiona Ayerst, professional underwater photographer and editor of Beyond Blue magazine, reveals the elusive frogfish,..."
  12. ^ June/July 2009,, Fiona Ayerst, professional underwater photographer and editor of Beyond Blue magazine, reveals the elusive frogfish, Retrieved 15 August 2014
  13. ^ Getty Images, Shark photographer Fiona Ayerst, Retrieved 15 August 2014, "..'Seeing as human beings kill over 100 million sharks each year, and they only kill less than ten of us each year- I am not especially worried about them....(Photo by Fiona Ayerst/Barcroft Media / Getty Images)..."
  14. ^ AsianTown News, 7 January 2009, from The Daily Mail, Diver's close encounter with enormous shark – with pic, Retrieved 15 August 2014, "..picture was taken by Miss Bester's friend Fiona Ayerst off the coast of Durban in South Africa...."
  15. ^ 28 March 2012, The Gremlin News & Information, Mossel Bay photographer talks at TEDxSeaPoint, Retrieved 15 August 2014, "..Fiona Ayerst – a professional photographer who gave up the law in order to follow her passion for the sea – called her talk 'My journey into water.'..."

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