Fine Art Agent
Member of the Nominators Prix Pictet, Member of the Board One Ocean Hub and SeaLegacy’s European Representative.
Previously working with SeaLegacy, Ryan has stepped into the role of Paul’s assistant, both in the office and in the field.
Michelle is the longest tenured employee at Paul Nicklen Photography. She helps with day-to-day work and finances.
How can I get involved and help support marine conservation and protect our oceans?
If you’re asking this question, you’ve taken the first step. The first step is to care, and it seems to be the most difficult one. There are so many ways and small changes you can make in your life which can have an impact on how our environment is affected. Here are a few suggestions: reduce your consumption, refuse single-use plastic, read labels, buy local, don’t support fish farms, educate yourself on where your food is coming from. Another big thing you can do is show your support. You can do this through, donating to a reputable cause, supporting campaigns, and signing petitions. Become a member of the Tide, which is a part of SeaLegacy, the non-profit I co-founded, to keep updated on current issues and actions you can take to help. Even just talking about issues and sharing articles and links on social media with your friends and family can have a positive impact. This keeps the people around you informed on the issues may help them take the first step as well. So, get involved, and get talking, as your actions and voice can have a bigger impact than you think.
How can photography help conservation efforts?
Photographs tell stories. I believe this is their most significant impact. Visual storytelling is a powerful tool, that gives a voice to those who can’t be heard. Photos capture iconic moments in time and allow people to bring back images of what is happening all over the world. A single photo can transport someone to places they never dreamed of seeing. Photography bridges the gap between story and image, as it encompasses both. The experience of viewing an image can spark an emotional connection. You can change people’s behaviour, by changing perceptions, through an emotional connection. I want to connect people to not only a single species at risk, but an entire ecosystem. Photography gives a face to people, species, and environments at risk and provides a platform to been seen and heard.
What sparked your passion for conservation and ocean protection?
I grew up on Baffin Island in an Inuit community and spent all of my time playing outside in the snow. It was during my childhood that I fell in love with the polar regions and I was determined to protect places like these and share images of these places with the world.
When did you first start taking photographs? (mention first camera model)
What is your advice to an aspiring (wildlife?) photographer?
Be patient. Spend time in the field and double the time you think it will take you. I try to make images, not take pictures, I do this by envisioning a shot, and planning for the light and action of your subject. While I’m in the field, I stay in one position and stay still, but I let the animal know I am there. I let them sense my presence and determine what kind of encounter we have.
I want to purchase a new camera; what would you recommend?
I shoot with several different camera brands, models, and types. My general advice would be to invest more money in lenses compared to camera bodies. Camera equipment is obviously an important facet of photography, and I make sure to always have a wide range of camera lenses to be prepared for any type of subject. If I had to narrow it down to 3 lenses, I would stick to a 16-35mm wide angle lens, a 24-70mm for portraits, and a telephoto such as a 70-200mm.
What has been your favourite assignment to date?
Memorable (when I’m on my death bed what will I remember) – Leopard seal encounter.
What’s your favourite image you’ve ever taken?
This picture means more to me than any I have ever taken. (amphipods/cophapods – foundation of the food chain of the whole arctic).
How can I become a National Geographic Photographer, what does it take?
It can be a difficult and complicated journey to get to where I am. It’s important to be professional, patient, and persistent.
Being a National Geographic Photographer means dedicating a lot of time and failing constantly, it also requires you to find motivation in failure. I find that I fail 98% of the time and I am continually picking myself up to get the shot that I had envisioned. Its unpredictable, exhilarating, and rewarding. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to shoot for National Geographic.
Can I work with you?
I personally am not looking for an assistant, but, SeaLegacy, the non-profit which I co-founded is frequently seeking interns.