We Need More Obsessions

In Books, Images, Influences, Uncategorized, VisionMongers by David9 Comments

nicklen1The cover of Paul Nicklen’s new book, Polar Obsession.

I’m captivated by Paul Nicklen and his work right now. His book, Polar Obsession, is on its way from Amazon and I can’t wait until it arrives. I haven’t been this excited about a book coming my way for a while. I might even be more excited about this one arriving than I was about VisionMongers.

Paul Nicklen grew up among the inuit in the far  – FAR – north of Canada. He studied to become a biologist. He mapped out his career plan on a scrap of paper when he should have been studying for a genetics final in his 4th year at University of Victoria. He failed the exam but found a career. I’m so intrigued with Paul for several reasons. The first of course is that his images are breathtaking. I don’t care any more about seals per se than I do about, I don’t know, toy poodles. But his images make me care. His images of the arctic and antarctic make me care, make me want to be there. Hell, they make me want to get into that water with him. But more than that, I suspect I’m drawn to him because, like the visionmongers I profiled in the book, this is a guy who seems to do it because he can’t NOT do it. He cares deeply about his subject. He has leveraged his expertise and his own story, and found a place shooting something few others are shooting with such great affection.

A person with a reason to shoot is lucky. A person with a passion, an obsession, is damn-near unstoppable. And I think their images show it.


A leopard seal feeds Paul Nicklen a penguin. Antarctic Peninsula.
© Paul Nicklen

So to start the week of right I’ll stop yapping and refer you to some of the inspiring bits I’ve found on Paul Nicklen.

First, his own website is here. Be sure to look at his galleries and read his story. PaulNicklen.com

Next, a great YouTube video about some of the experiences behind his leopard seal images HERE and his underwater polar bear HERE.

PDN has an article on Paul Nicklen HERE.

Finally, if you’ve got a few shekels left after buying my recent barrage of books, you can find Paul’s book, Polar Obsession, HERE on Amazon.com


  1. I’ve been following Paul for a while, his photos are beyond awesome! I can’t wait to get my hands on his book… after Visionmongers of course 😉

  2. Loved seeing the work at the National Geographic Museum in Washington DC (like Doug said above) last week. It makes seeing these images even more stunning when hung on a wall and not just on a computer screen…

  3. David, thank you very much for the link! I passed it along to my wife who oddly, last week painted one of his narwhal photos for her painting class. Coincidence for sure, but she will appreciate this site as much as I did. Thanks again!

  4. An amazing exhibit of this work is currently on display at Nat Geo headquarters in Washington DC. I spent an inspiring morning studying his photos, and all the other great photos on display there. Highly recommended if you are in the area!

  5. I have stumbled upon his video before. I don’t think McNally would even do what Paul does to get a shot. They are amazing images.

    Side note, I personally know another “white eskimo” raised on Baffin Island. I wonder if they know each other?

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