Last Updated on January 13, 2019
Armed with a degree in marine biology, photographer Paul Nicklen knows more about his subject than just taking a good photo of them. With over 20 years in the field, Nicklen has captured not only the beauty of our world but also the plight of its non-human members.
His work for National Geographic has allowed him to tell the stories of species located in isolated and endangered environments. His expertise in these areas comes as no surprise: he grew up in an Inuit community in the Canadian arctic.
Nicklen’s unique brand of documentary photography has earned him many rewards, including the World Press Photo for Photojournalism. More than just a photographer, Nicklen is also an outspoken conservationist and has been recognized for it: he was given the Natural Resources Defense Council BiGerms Visionary Award.
As one of the most acclaimed nature photographers in the world, Nicklen has produced books and delivered talks on the natural world. He has also collaborated with conservationists, explorers, filmmakers, and scientists to increase awareness and drive action for pressing global issues, climate change in particular.
Nicklen co-founded SeaLegacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to ocean conservation. He lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Nicklen has received over 20 international awards for his photographic work, including ten from BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, five from World Press Photo, three from Pictures of the Year International, and two from Communication Arts.
His photography has had a major impact on climate change and for that, he was bestowed an honorary PhD by the University of Victoria, where he received marine biology degree in 1990.
Paul has given lectures to influential people and organizations. His talk at the TED Conference and TEDx Midwest in Chicago in 2011 centered on experiences taking photographs of animals living in polar regions. He has also given lectures to Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and Madeleine Albright.
Outdoor Photography magazine named Nicklen one of their 40 most influential nature photographers of all time.
Paul has published more than 15 stories for National Geographic magazine, including an August 2011 cover story on the spirit bear, an elusive species. Other articles published in the magazine, include:
- Everybody Loves Atlantic Salmon, Here’s the Catch (July 2003)
- Deadly Beauty (December 2006)
- Vanishing Sea Ice (June 2007)
- Arctic Ivory (August 2007)
- Ice Paradise (April 2009)
- Resurrection Island, South Georgia (December 2009)
- Yukon Gold Fever (February 2014)
- The Blob that Cooked the Pacific (August 2016)
Nicklen has also published books that showcase the photography he has done for National Geographic. They include:
- Polar Obsession (2009) – a documentation of polar region inhabitants, including bearded seals, leopard seals, narwhals, polar bears, walruses, and whales.
- Bear: Spirit of the Wild (2013) – features a collection of photographs of North American bears: black, grizzly, polar, and the rare spirit bear. Accompanying the photographs are essays from well-known environmentalists intended to shed light on the animals and the endangered ecosystem they live in.