Photographer to speak about ocean giants

Nachoum uses photography to raise awareness

A photo of polar bears swimming by Amos Nachoum

Award-winning ocean photographer and conservationist Amos Nachoum will speak about his photos of the world’s largest undersea predators and other giant creatures Feb. 17 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. 

Nachoum’s photographic exploration lecture is sponsored by Pitt-Bradford Arts and is free and open to the public. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Bromeley Family Theater. Free tickets are required to attend and may be reserved by visiting or calling the Bromeley Family Theater Box Office at 814-362-5113

Nachoum has traveled the earth from the high arctic to Antarctica for more than 30 years, taking photos of ocean giants, including polar bears, narwhals, great white sharks, orca, anaconda, crocodiles and humpback and blue whales, which are the largest creature to ever live on earth. 

“Always, my focus has been on dispelling the myth of [dangerous] ocean giants,” he said in a 2012 TED Talk in San Francisco, where he explained that the rapid development of imaging technology such as IMAX and high-resolution cameras and displays combined with the rapid deterioration of large animals propelled him to create the Ocean Giant Legacy Project, a five-year project to research and photograph 35 large animals. Last year, the fruits of that project were published in a large-format photography book, “Big.” 

He has led great expeditions for individual adventurers and institutions like Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Discovery Channel, Armani, Disney and Colombia Pictures. For National Geographic, he was a team leader for photo expeditions to document the Red Sea, great white sharks and orca. 

His photos and essays have appeared in hundreds of publications, including National Geographic, Time, Life, The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Der Spiegel and Unterwasser. He has won awards for his photography from Nikon and the BBC. In 2021, he earned the grand prize in the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards for a photo of a gentoo penguin moments before it was devoured by a leopard seal. 

He co-founded a marine national park in his native Israel, where he grew up taking photos. He learned to SCUBA dive in the Israeli military and took part in the 1973 Yom Kippur War before emigrating to the United States, where he first settled in New York and drove a taxi. He eventually began leading tourists on trips to popular dive spots and perfecting his underwater photography. 

In 2019, the International SeaKeepers Society named him its SeaKeeper of the Year. A 2019 Israeli documentary, “Picture of His Life,” captured Nachoum’s efforts to capture one of the few major predators that had thus far eluded him: polar bears. 

Oceanographic explorer Jean Michel Cousteau said in the documentary, “Amos to me is one of the best ambassadors of the oceans. He takes huge amounts of risks to bring those images that nobody else has ever been able to capture.” 

In his talk Feb. 17, Nachoum will share his photos, which argue that giant animals aren’t inherently dangerous, and take participants on a journey from the North Pole to Antarctica. He will share photography tips along the way.