Our Founders

Our Founders

Dedicated to driving powerful conservation wins across the globe.

We’re guided by a passionate team of world-class filmmakers, conservationists and photographers.

SeaLegacy was co-founded in 2014 by Cristina Mittermeier, a pioneer of the modern conservation photography movement, Paul Nicklen, the renowned National Geographic polar photographer and Andy Mann, an Emmy-nominated director and marine conservationist.

Portrait of Paul Nicklen

Paul Nicklen

Co-Founder & Lead Storyteller

Paul Nicklen is a Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist who has documented the beauty and plight of our planet for over thirty years. His unique expertise as a visual storyteller and uncanny ability to connect with his wild subjects in extreme conditions delivers audiences around the world to an underwater realm few have witnessed. With a background in marine biology at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Nicklen started his career as a wildlife researcher before landing the position of a National Geographic staff photographer. He went on to co-found SeaLegacy in 2014, a nonprofit dedicated to using the power of visual storytelling to protect and rewild the ocean. Nicklen’s work has garnered well over 30 of the highest awards given to any photographer in his field, including the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the prestigious World Press Photo for Photojournalism. In 2019, he earned his place as the youngest person ever inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame (IPHF). His photography continues to educate and inspire millions worldwide, reminding us of the beauty and vulnerability of our fragile Earth.

“The art I create is always in service to the ocean as I attempt to do its beauty justice through my lens. If I can inspire people to care enough to protect it, then maybe we can finally give our planet the respect it deserves and safeguard its future.”

— Paul Nicklen

Portrait of photographer and SeaLegacy cofounder Cristina Mittermeier.

Cristina Mittermeier

Co-Founder & Lead Storyteller

Through her powerful imagery and storytelling, Cristina Mittermeier brings attention to the rich biodiversity of our world, highlighting the dire importance of conservation efforts in mitigating climate change and empowering coastal communities. Her work as a conservation photographer amplifies the crucial role of Indigenous communities in sustainable land management and ocean stewardship. She has contributed significantly to the creation of marine protected areas and continues to support Indigenous-led movements against unsustainable development projects through her powerful portraiture. In bridging the gap between art, science, and conservation, Mittermeier inspires a global audience to take action and protect the ocean for the future of our planet.

“Extraordinary opportunities exist to restore and sustainably develop our oceans in order to protect them and sustain all life on this planet.”

— Cristina Mittermeier

Our Founders

Andy Mann

Co-Founder & Lead Storyteller

Andy Mann’s work as a conservation photographer and filmmaker sheds light on the urgency of our rapidly-changing planet while showcasing the beauty and vulnerability of our ocean. His unwavering advocacy has contributed to the establishment of numerous marine protected areas and conservation initiatives from the Arctic Circle to the Eastern Tropical Pacific. His uncanny ability to evoke powerful emotions through his photographs and film serves as a powerful tool for inspiring the next generation to become active ocean stewards and protect our planet’s future.

“The ocean is a part of all of us, weaving us together through our hearts, minds, and the very air we breathe. It gives us oxygen, provides food, and moves our spirits in a way that calls us back to the shore.”

— Andy Mann