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Growing up as one of the few non-Inuit residents of a settlement on Baffin Island, Canada, Paul Nicklen has been intimately involved with the natural world since his childhood. This experience, coupled with his first career as a biologist in the Northwest Territories, uniquely equipped him for his work as a photojournalist in some of the world's most difficult terrains.

Nicklen's highly praised work for National Geographic presents vivid and intimate portraits of one of the planet's harshest regions and its wildlife, focusing especially on the effect which climate change is bringing to the polar regions.

Nicklen's astonishing photographs and amazing stories - of working 100 feet below the ice in 29° water, diving with leopard seals, and many more – bring the dangers of climate change to life in a way that no academic thesis can and inspire others to care as much about this astonishing environment as he does.

The recipient of more than twenty international awards, including the Nature: First Prize Story from World Press Photo, Nicklen has had more than twenty stories published in National Geographic as well as in many other publications around the world. His book Bear: Spirit of the Wild tells an evocative tale of the bears of North America, and his much praised debut work Polar Obsession is being reprinted in 2015.

Full Profile

Paul Nicklen grew up one of only a few non-Inuit in an Inuit settlement on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada — a childhood that taught him the patience, stamina and respect for nature required for his beat in the frigid climes of Earth’s polar regions. Best known for his vivid and intimate wildlife photos for National Geographic, Nicklen started out a biologist in the Northwest Territories, gathering data on such species as lynx, grizzlies, and polar bears. Today he bridges the gap between scientific research and the public, showing how fragile and fast-changing habitats are profoundly affecting wildlife.

During the course of his workday Nicklen regularly comes face-to-face with fantastic creatures: narwhals, Arctic foxes, elephant seals, and more. His most amazing experience? An underwater encounter with a leopard seal who for four days tried to feed him penguins through the “mouth” of his lens.

Diving among leopard seals in Antarctica, hanging from his ultralight plane, and working a hundred feet below the ice in 29-degree water, Nicklen tells the story of a place most of us can scarcely imagine. In doing so, he has successfully put a face on climate change—and perhaps makes the strongest argument for our need to care and change.

Nicklen has published ten stories for National Geographic, the most recent from South Georgia, Antarctica (December 2009). His latest book, Polar Obsession, received rave reviews and is already in its third printing. He has received more than twenty international awards, including this year’s Nature: First Prize Story 2010 award from World Press Photo.


Paul Nicklen Speaker Videos Back to top

Paul Nicklen: IRIS Nights Lecture Series


“If I want them [the readers of National Geographic] to care about the issues I care about, I've got to get up close and personal to get intimate pictures of these animals,” explains Paul Nicklen, detailing the philosophy behind his award-winning photography. He details the work that goes into his assignments: “I had fourteen pictures published in National Geographic; I took 48,000.”

Paul Nicken: Face-Off With a Deadly Predator


Paul Nicklen on Protecting the Arctic



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Paul Nicklen brings his passion for the beauty of the polar regions to his keynote speeches, vividly bringing areas many of us will never experience to life. He brings the reality of global warming home to his audience in the most vivid way imaginable.

Nicklen undergoes extraordinary dangers and hardships to capture his astonishing images, and his inspiring tales of his achievements, told with self-deprecating humor, are not to be missed.

All Nicklen's speeches are accompanied by shows of his breathtaking photographs.

Ends of the Earth
Paul Nicklen’s photographic mission is to celebrate the beauty of the lands and creatures at the ends of the Earth and to show the rest of us what is truly at stake in the ongoing debates over global warming.

Patience and Passion: Overcoming Adversity
Nicklen often has to go under the ice and come face-to-face with awesome predators to get the story, sometimes waiting months before he sees a glimpse of his subject. In a presentation filled with self-deprecating humor and stories of terrifying moments, Nicklen shares the patience and passion his job requires and relates it to the workplace.

Dispelling the Myth: In the Jaws of the Leopard Seal
In this touching presentation, Nicklen shares the most terrifying, electrifying, and satisfying shoot of his career.

Leviathans of Icy Seas
Take a trip to the icy seas as Nicklen shares stories and breathtaking photographs of polar bears, narwhals, bowhead whales, and walruses.





* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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Polar Obsession
The Arctic is in Paul Nicklen’s blood. Born and raised on Baffin Island, Nunavut, he grew up in one of the only non-Inuit families in a tiny native settlement amid the ice fields, floes, and frigid seas of Northern Canada. At an age when most children are playing hide-and-seek, he was learning life-and-death lessons of survival: how to read the weather, find shelter in a frozen snowscape, or live off the land as his Inuit neighbors had done for centuries.

Today Nicklen is a naturalist and wildlife photographer uniquely qualified to portray the impact of climate change on the polar regions and their inhabitants, human and animal alike. In a wise and wonderful intertwining of art and science, his bold expeditions plunge him into freezing seas to capture unprecedented, up-close documentation of the lives of leopard seals, whales, walruses, polar bears, bearded seals, and narwhals. Bathed in polar light, his images, inspiring and amazing, break new ground in photography and provide a vivid, timely portrait of two extraordinary, endangered ecosystems.
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Ends of the Earth
Paul Nicklen’s photographic mission is to celebrate the beauty of the lands and creatures at the ends of the Earth and to show the rest of us what is truly at stake in the ongoing debates over global warming.

Patience and Passion: Overcoming Adversity
Nicklen often has to go under the ice and come face-to-face with awesome predators to get the story, sometimes waiting months before he sees a glimpse of his subject. In a presentation filled with self-deprecating humor and stories of terrifying moments, Nicklen shares the patience and passion his job requires and relates it to the workplace.

Dispelling the Myth: In the Jaws of the Leopard Seal
In this touching presentation, Nicklen shares the most terrifying, electrifying, and satisfying shoot of his career.

Leviathans of Icy Seas
Take a trip to the icy seas as Nicklen shares stories and breathtaking photographs of polar bears, narwhals, bowhead whales, and walruses.


Paul Nicklen: IRIS Nights Lecture Series


“If I want them [the readers of National Geographic] to care about the issues I care about, I've got to get up close and personal to get intimate pictures of these animals,” explains Paul Nicklen, detailing the philosophy behind his award-winning photography. He details the work that goes into his assignments: “I had fourteen pictures published in National Geographic; I took 48,000.”

Paul Nicken: Face-Off With a Deadly Predator


Paul Nicklen on Protecting the Arctic