Exclusive: NatGeo WILD Mission Critical: Sharks Under Attack, star Brian Skerry says, “My first encounter had a profound effect”

Brian Skerry

Encore (2016), airs Monday, July 24th, 2017 at 7pm PT, 10pm ET on DirecTV

By Gabrielle Pantera

HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Daily Star) 2017/7/24 – “As I wrote in my new book Shark, I saw my first shark in the wild when I was 20 years old,” says Mission Critical: Sharks Under Attack star Brian Skerry. “I was fascinated by sharks and being in the water with a big predator seemed like it would give me street cred as a photographer. My first encounter had a profound effect. I came away seeing it as a beautifully sculpted creature. It’s perfectly balanced, has symmetry, every part of it. That’s ideal for a photographer. It’s one of these subjects that perfectly blends grace and power.”

 

“Sharks move elegantly and have confidence,” says Skerry. “For decades after that, my quest was to capture the essence of sharks, to show them as beautiful, not as monsters, and to dispel many of the myths surrounding them. Over time I came to see them as a fragile species. They are being decimated. With so many sharks being killed every year, I feel a responsibility to tell their story.”

“I started scuba diving when I was 15 years old,” says Skerry. “My first encounter with sharks was four years after that. I was invited by a marine biologist – a shark scientist – on a shark cage trip around 1982. He had built his own cage and used it off the coast of Road Island during the summers. I lived in Massachusetts, very close to that area, but I didn’t know you could do that. That was my first time. My pictures weren’t great but that was the beginning.”

“That first shark I ever saw was a blue shark,” says Skerry. “They are stunningly beautiful and I’ve always loved them. I also can’t ever stop looking at Great Whites. They are awe-inspiring. Lately, I’ve loved Mako sharks. They are the subject of an article I did in the August issue of National Geographic magazine. So right now I’d say Mako.”

“Sharks are far more complex animals than we ever imagined,” says Skerry. “For a long time, humans have seen them as shadowy one-dimensional creatures waiting to bite you, but the truth is that they have complex social lives and behaviors that we don’t fully understand. They largely remain enigmatic. What I’ve learned is that we know very little, and these are my own personal observations, but I think in time much more will be revealed and I hope that we will value them more as integral to keeping our plant healthy.”

Skerry’s photos are represented by National Geographic Creative. Skerry sells prints through his web site and the National Geographic fine art galleries.

Twitter:@Brian_Skerry  @natgeowild 

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