Paul Nicklen spent his childhood years observing nature and traveling on the land. He learned from the Inuit how to survive in the Arctic and developed a keen interest in observing wildlife. NIcklen grew up in a small Inuit community on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic.
You may not know his name, but by now you’ve probably, as millions have, seen the shocking video of a starving polar bear scrabbling to get food from a metal bin.
Nicklen is using the huge audience who have seen the photo to become more involved and knowledgeable about what is happening in the north due to climate change.
After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Nicklen returned to the Northwest Territories and began his career as a wildlife biologist with the Department of Renewable Resources.
He worked on such species as lynx, grizzly bears, bison, caribou and polar bears. His camera was always by his side, and he soon realized that he could better serve wildlife populations by becoming a wildlife and nature photojournalist. His goal is to bridge the gap between scientific research and public knowledge on wildlife subjects and climate change by producing stories for magazines such as National Geographic.
He has published 20 stories for National Geographic.
Since 1995, Nicklen has specialized in photographing the Arctic and Antarctica and their wild inhabitants. With an emphasis on underwater photography, he excels in working in harsh environments and cross-cultural situations. His photographic style reflects a reverence for the creatures that inhabit the isolated polar regions, and his unique background gives him the confidence to photograph in the most inhospitable, remote and challenging places on the planet.
Nicklen’s work has taken him from swimming with leopard seals in Antarctica to flying his ultralight airplane over the sea ice near Baffin Island He also completed a three-month solo expedition into the high Arctic, living on the open tundra with bears and wolves.
He has received more than 30 international awards for his work, including six awards with World Press Photo, three with Pictures of the Year International, two with Communication Arts and 15 with BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Nicklen lives in Nanoose Bay, BC, Canada.