Sharks are disappearing at an alarming rate. The new National Geographic photography exhibition SHARKS: On Assignment with Brian Skerry opening October 23 at Georgia Aquarium—the first to host the travelling exhibit following its debut at the National Geographic Museum—seeks to show guests what it’s like to come face-to-nose with the world’s most feared predators and why we should all rally to save them.
The exhibition takes visitors on a photographic journey into the depths of the oceans to swim alongside tiger sharks, great white sharks, oceanic whitetips and shortfin makos while learning about each species’ habitat and threats they face. National Geographic Explorer and award-winning photojournalist Brian Skerry has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater exploring the world’s oceans with a camera to show why sharks need to be protected and appreciated as an integral species within the ecosystem. The exhibition includes large-scale images and videos— all highlighting Skerry’s passion, skill and life-long commitment to conserve the world’s oceans. The exhibit will remain open at the Aquarium until April 2018.
The more Skerry understands these creatures, the more he wants to show them in a different light, as something to respect and value rather than revile and fear. Yet, sharks face many dangers as more than 100 million are killed each year, primarily for their fins. With the ocean predators now becoming the hunted, the exhibition aims to create a sense of awe while also showing their fragility.
Sharks represent an endless well of inspiration, a blend of grace and power that lures me into the sea time and time again in hopes of producing a new rendering that truly captures their essence,” said Skerry. “As a journalist, I’m driven by a sense of responsibility and a sense of urgent need to broadcast that sharks are in trouble and need our help. So, it’s fitting that the first stop of the travelling exhibit is at Georgia Aquarium, an institution that is also dedicated to the conservation of sharks and all ocean life.”
National Geographic’s SHARKS: On Assignment with Brian Skerry exhibit at the Aquarium brings two renowned institutions dedicated to helping the public connect with the natural world together—inspiring generations to understand the value of ocean predators and how they can help conserve ocean life. A leader in global conservation efforts for whale sharks, the Aquarium conducts research expeditions studying their migration, behavior and health to discover and learn about this endangered species, and contributes to vital research aimed at better understanding the conservation needs of sand tiger sharks and white sharks.
"We are excited to be the first place outside of the National Geographic Museum to host SHARKS and to share the stunning work of Brian Skerry with our guests,” said Dr. Alistair Dove, Vice President of Research and Conservation at Georgia Aquarium. “We see firsthand how the personal connections our guests make with the sharks in our care inspires them to conserve ocean life. This photo exhibition takes this experience one step further by providing guests a unique opportunity to learn about this misunderstood species through an award-winning photographer’s lens.”
Award-winning photojournalist and conservationist, Brian Skerry has dedicated his life to telling the story of marine wildlife and underwater environments — from tropical coral reefs to polar ice. While on assignment, he’s lived on the bottom of the sea, spent months aboard fishing boats, and traveled in everything from snowmobiles to canoes to the Goodyear Blimp to get the picture. A National Geographic magazine photographer since 1998, Skerry’s work has also appeared in a wide range of other prestigious outlets, including BBC Wildlife, U.S. News & World Report and Sports Illustrated. He’s won the coveted Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition 11 times, in addition to many other prizes. In 2014, he was named a National Geographic Photography Fellow and in 2015, a Nikon Ambassador. Additionally, Skerry was honored as the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year at the 2017 National Geographic Explorers Festival in Washington, D.C.
Skerry’s photographs can be taken home in the National Geographic book, SHARK, which will be available for purchase at Georgia Aquarium’s gift shop, Treasures of the Sea.