Photos: Scenes From Life Under the Sea

Three decades in and photojournalist Brian Skerry is still getting acquainted with the ocean’s many characters

Playful but poignant, this photo of a tiny yellow goby living inside an abandoned soda can taken in Suruga Bay, Japan reveals the arresting quality of Brian Skerry’s work. All photos courtesy of Brian Skerry.

Brian Skerry may have just about the best office in the world. It’s beautiful, quiet and big, like 70 percent of the Earth big. That’s because Skerry is a photojournalist who spends most of his time exploring the oceans.

“To some, my work might seem like one long, endless vacation,” writes Skerry on his blog, “traveling to exotic locales and living romantic adventures.” But he says, “The reality is far less romantic of course.”  Inevitably, capturing that perfect moment, when a tiny yellow goby peeks out from a discarded soda can, for example, takes time and patience. But in the end, the work that takes him all over the world and lets him swim with sharks or capture changing environments, is well worth it.

In honor of the opening of the renovated portion of Ocean Hall at the Natural History Museum on April 5, 20 of Skerry’s stunning photographs will be on display for the exhibit, “Portraits of Planet Ocean: The Photography of Brian Skerry.”

My hope,” he says, “is to continually find new ways of creating images and stories that both celebrate the sea yet also highlight environmental problems.”

Read more about his work here.

Sea pens and a blue cod mingle in a rare moment in New Zealand.

His work often deals with issues of conservation. Here, a leatherback turtle hatchling heads to the sea in Trinidad.

Skerry says he traveled to the Auckland Islands, hoping to photograph a pristine population of right whales after having spent the previous year working on a story about the beleaguered North Atlantic right whales, of which about only 350 remain. He says his encounter here with a 70-ton whale was the single most incredible animal encounter he’s ever had.

From big to small, Skerry sees it all, including a spiny-headed blenny in Belize.

The colors and textures of ocean life never disappoint.

A group of black margate pose in the waters off Belize.

A female leatherback turtle crawls ashore under moonlight to rest in Trinidad.

Skerry captures an oceanic whitetip shark and diver in the Bahamas. He says he has had countless magical encounters with sharks, an animal he considers to be perfect.

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