Brian Skerry is one of the most notable National Geographic photographers. He grew up in New England but he’s been everywhere since, having logged over 10,000 hours underwater in the last 30 years. He is currently working on his 20th feature article for National Geographic, says his website. Late last year, I had a chance to interview Brian and talk about his latest book, Ocean Soul, which is one of my favorite ocean photography books to come out in quite awhile. Unfortunately, because I despise transcription, I only got around to running this article now. It’s still as relevant, if not more so, than before, as I believe Brian is in the field at the moment, working his magic to bring us back photographic treasures.
BL: You’ve been shooting for National Geographic since ’98, and you’ve been doing this about 30 years. You started out as a wreck diver…
BS: I did do a lot of wreck diving early in my career, but I started out as just somebody who wanted to explore the ocean. You know, I had a great interest in natural history and marine life. And I think the reason I got into diving was because I wanted to swim with sharks and whales and dolphins, and lots of animals. I just didn’t have the resources–the money–to travel to some sort of exotic places. So I worked on a charter boat for about 10 years taking people to out to dive on German U-Boats, and you know, I got pretty good at that early on. I did thousands of shipwreck dives, things like the Andrea Doria, the deep north Atlantic wrecks, which was great training for any kind of diving. I mean if you can do that kind of diving–deep, dark, cold north Atlantic stuff–then you know, you’d be well-prepared. So you’re right, I did sort of start as a wreck diver, but I actually started earlier than that as just someone who wanted to explore the ocean and be with interesting animals.