National Geographic adventurer Brian Skerry has spent over 10,000 hours under water, using his camera to tell the story of some of the ocean’s most elusive inhabitants. The US-based extreme photographer is coming to New Zealand in October as part of the National Geographic Live series, to share his adventures and offer a unique portrait of creatures from the deep.
Skerry says he holds both New Zealand and its species very dear to his heart, having spent a considerable amount of time here in our icy southern waters capturing the world’s most endangered whale, the right whale.
His mission, he says, is “to enlighten and inspire people to care about the beauty, bounty, and health of the world’s oceans”.
“Join Brian live on stage for an intimate look at dolphins’ intelligence,” reads the blurb. “Hang out with the endearing Arctic harp seal, discover the truth about the global fish crisis, and join him on his adventure with the University of Auckland to New Zealand’s westernmost outpost, Enderby Island, where he’s mobbed by these curious creatures.
“It’s this sort of behaviour that really speaks to their name—they were the ‘right whale’ for whalers to target because they were large, slow, curious and easily approachable—all attributes which led to their demise.”
Having achieved his childhood dream of becoming a National Geographic photographer in 1998, Skerry admits he’s succeeded beyond his wildest dreams – but there’s a catch: He set out to capture the wonder of the underwater world but didn’t expect to capture its destruction.
“I wanted to do pretty pictures,” he says. “In the ’70s and ’80s, I would see these huge schools of fish. I don’t see that today. I would see a lot of sharks, coral reefs. Many of those places, they’re gone now. We’ve lost 50% of the coral reefs in the world, and 90% of the big fish. We kill 100 million sharks a year. That’s visible.
“What I’ve personally witnessed in those years has been traumatic. My hope is that we can turn it around.”
Skerry has also worked on assignment for or had images featured in magazines such as People, Sports Illustrated, US News and World Report, BBC Wildlife, GEO, Smithsonian, Playboy, Esquire, Audubon, Men’s Journal and in countless publications worldwide. He is also the author/photographer of five books.
Through his captivating photography, he has helped open the door to a greater understanding of a world unknown to many. On stage Skerry is a passionate spokesman for the oceans he loves to photograph, his riveting presentations inspire reverence for the marine realm and most of all they offer hope for protecting the vitality of the world’s oceans.
Some may see this inhibiting, but he consistently delivers thought-provoking and captivating images that offer a unique and intimate portrait of creatures from the deep, and draws attention to the large number of issues that endanger their existence.
Auckland: Wednesday 21 October, Aotea Centre (ASB Theatre)
Wellington: Thursday 22 October, Te Papa (Soundings Theatre)
Tickets cost: from $49.
Book here: www.ticketmaster.co.nz/Bryan-Smith-tickets/artist/1994199 or 0800 111999
About National Graphic Live
National Geographic Live is the live events division of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations whose mission is to inspire, illuminate and teach. With a broad roster of talent including renowned photographers, scientists, authors, filmmakers and adventurers, National Geographic Live’s critically acclaimed programs have connected with audiences worldwide for over a century. Currently, National Geographic Live events are held in 32 cities around the world, including New York, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore, Auckland and Sydney. In each of these cities, speakers share behind-the-scenes stories from the front lines of exploration on stage alongside stunning imagery and gripping footage. In 2014, National Geographic Live events were attended by over 150,000 people.
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