National Geographic Live - Brian Skerry

Event:               National Geographic Live - Brian Skerry

Part of The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series

When:               Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 7:30 pm

Where:              The Mendel Center Mainstage at Lake Michigan College

                        2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Tickets:            $50 - $80

Mendel Center Box Office, (269) 927-8700, option 1, or



National Geographic Liveexplorer and photographer Brian Skerry to speak at The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series Apr. 8


BENTON HARBOR, MI – The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series, hosted by The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan, welcomes National Geographic Live explorer and photographer Brian Skerry on Wednesday, April 8, at 7:30 pm.


Brian Skerry is a wildlife photographer specializing in underwater environments. Since 1998, he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic magazine covering a wide range of subjects and stories. In 2014 he was one of five photographers named as a National Geographic Photography Fellow. In 2015 he was named a Nikon Ambassador and in June 2017 he was awarded the title of Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.


For National Geographic magazine, Skerry has covered a wide range of stories, from the harp seal’s struggle to survive in frozen waters to the alarming decrease in the world’s fisheries to dolphin intelligence, all cover stories. During 2016, the magazine published three consecutive feature stories by Skerry about predatory sharks. His cover story in the February 2017 issue of National Geographic, focuses on protecting special underwater ecosystems in US waters. During his coverage for this story, Skerry produced the first images of a US President underwater.


Skerry’s work has also been featured in publications such as Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, BBC Wildlife, Paris Match, GEO, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, Esquire, Audubon, and Men’s Journal. He is the author of 10 books, including the acclaimed monograph Ocean Soul. His latest book, SHARK, was released in June 2017.


Skerry is an 11-time award winner in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He has also been recognized with awards from Pictures of the Year International, Nature’s Best, Communication Arts and is the only photographer to win the coveted Peter Benchley Ward for Excellence in Media. In 2010 National Geographic magazine named one of Skerry’s images among their 50 Greatest Photographs Of All Time, and he was awarded the 2016 National Geographic Photographer’s Photographer Award—an honor bestowed by his colleagues.


He has had solo photography exhibits at Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan, France, as well as cities such as Geneva, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Shanghai—and at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.


Skerry frequently lectures on photography, exploration, and conservation issues, having presented at venues such as the United Nations General Assembly, The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, TED Talks, The National Press Club in Washington, DC, The Royal Geographical Society in London, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. He is a frequent guest on television programs including NBC’s TODAY Show and CBS This Morning.


Skerry is the Explorer-In-Residence and a Trustee at the New England Aquarium, a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Director of The New England Ocean Odyssey for The Conservation Law Foundation, and a Fellow National of The Explorers Club. He also serves as a Marine Fellow with Conservation International, serves on the World Wildlife Fund’s National Council and the WWF’s Marine Leadership Council, and on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.


During his presentation “Ocean Soul,” the audience will voyage across the oceans and discover a vast, hidden world beneath the waves.

A pre-presentation Dinner & Discussion event will be held in newly renovated Grand Upton Hall. The buffet dinner begins at 5:30 pm. It includes Caesar salad, citrus chicken, pork tenderloin with red wine reduction, roasted fingerling potatoes, roasted cauliflower, rolls, and blueberry lemon curd cupcakes. The vegetarian option is stuffed peppers. At 6:30, as part of the dinner, there is a 30-minute panel discussion with two well-known local photographers who will explore various aspects of photography with attendees. Panelists are:

David Knightpicked up a camera after high school and never looked back. It became his love and it’s still his love today. Knight began his photographic ambition with a diverse background as a college yearbook photographer at Lake Michigan College and a US Army photographer with assignments at Camp David and The Pentagon. After his two years in the Army, Knight headed back to college and earned his degree in Visual Media from Western Michigan University.


Knight's forty years of photographic experience and his passion for the still image has sharpened his insight into making his clients look their best. His work has been used in national magazines, packaging - both in the United States and in Europe, brochures, point of sale displays, websites, and billboards. Working out of his studio in St. Joseph, Michigan, he has traveled extensively throughout the United States as well as Europe on assignments for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.


In 2004, David wanted to do something special for the community he lives in. Working with and overseeing 26 photographers - 13 professions and 13 amateurs - he created a photo documentary of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, Michigan, over two days that resulted in the publication of a book entitled 2 Cities/48 Hours.


Joshua Nowickigrew up in West Michigan. After obtaining his MA in Anthropology, he worked for museums and served on the board of directors of the Michigan Museums Association. It was during this time when Nowicki began to develop his interest in photography, photographing exhibits and events for publication and marketing purposes. Nowicki eventually moved to Saint Joseph, Michigan, and took a position at a local museum. His interest in photography expanded beyond the walls of museums and in early 2012 he received his first DSLR camera as a gift from his parents. Nowicki followed his passion, and now he is a professional photographer capturing inspiring images of Michigan and working for a marketing agency (Holt Bosse). He is well known for his photos of the lighthouse in Saint Joseph. Nowicki’s images have appeared in both local and national news including Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, National Geographic, Pure Michigan, The Weather Channel, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, USA Today, and more.


Knight’s book and Nowicki’s photos will be available for purchase in the Grand Upton Hall Lobby.


Following dinner, ticket holders for Skerry’s presentation will take a short walk through The Mendel Center to their reserved seats in the Mainstage. Dinner and presentation tickets are sold separately. Reserved presentation seats ($50 - $80) and dinner tickets ($35) are on sale now at, by calling 269-927-8700, option 1, or by visiting The Mendel Center Box Office in person. The box office, located in the Grand Upton Hall Lobby, is open weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm.


This Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series event is sponsored by The Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council.



About The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series

Established in 1943, the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan has brought more than 430 world leaders, policy makers, experts, and other newsmakers to the region. Its goal is to provide unique opportunities for personal and community growth. By presenting national and international speakers from a wide range of fields and expertise, this non-partisan series is dedicated to the discussion of social, economic, and public policy questions important in today’s complex society.


About The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College

The Mendel Center raised the curtain on its first Mainstage season performance in the fall of 1992. Since that time, it has presented Mainstage season performances to more than half a million patrons in the 1,559-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre. Newly renovated Grand Upton Hall, first opened in 1979, is a 14,400-square-foot venue serving the community as the host site for meetings, banquets, trade shows, weddings, and other celebrations. The 234-seat Hanson Theatre is home to the Lake Michigan College Visual & Performing Arts Departments as well as a variety of Mendel Center and community events.


The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). Its GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.


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