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Award-winning National Geographic photographer visits PCHS

Brian Skerry talks to Park City High School

Park City High School students had the opportunity to listen to an award-winning National Geographic photographer during an assembly hosted by the Park City Art Institute on March 3.

Brian Skerry, an underwater photographer, has spent over 12,000 hours submerged or more than 16 months of his life documenting the ocean. Since 1998 he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine, covering stories on every continent and in nearly every ocean habitat. In 2014 he was named a National Geographic Photography Fellow, then named a National Geographic Society Storytelling Fellow in 2017.  In 2017 he was also awarded the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year title.

“There's nothing like a live audience; there's something very personal about speaking engagements that I can't do through those other media offerings,” said Skerry. “I can tell personal stories, I can answer questions and for me, having done it for decades, it's really about trying to inspire others of any generation but particularly students.”

Park City High School Senior, Kate Rooney, plans on making a career in environmental protection and mentioned she learned valuable information during the presentation and after meeting Skerry. 

“I really liked this one because it was about conservation, and that is something that I'm interested in,” said Rooney.  ”I got to talk to him about my plans for college and hear his take on environmental protection; it was a really cool experience.” 

Rooney added that she enjoys having professionals like Skerry visit the high school to help inspire students. 

“Bringing in people, specifically storytellers, like Brian, is valuable to high school students,” said Rooney. “We love to pay attention to stories, and he captured our imaginations on what we can do with our lives; I think it was fantastic.” 

In 2010, National Geographic Magazine named one of Skerry’s images their 50 Greatest Photographs of All Time. Additionally, his Disney+ series ‘Secrets of the Whales’ won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary.

“They're at a pivotal moment in history, where decisions that we all make and they make will determine the future, so you want to give them good truthful information,” said Skerry.  “You want to share the insights that we have, that I've had, and we want to give them every opportunity out there.”