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-Who is Chris-

Chris is an accomplished photographer, who has documented humans working in extreme locations like the North & South Poles, Everest, Papua New Guinea, DR Congo and the edge of space (aboard a U-2 Spy Plane). He's also had the opportunity to photograph many global leaders, including as the photographer for the 14th Dalai Lama. As the Artist-in-Residence at the National Academies, he's photographed some of the nation's most accomplished scientists, from Astronauts to Nobel laureates.

Chris Michel

Photojournalist and Explorer

Christopher Michel is the inaugural Artist-in-Residence at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. His appointment is focused on leveraging visual storytelling to elevate the work of scientists, engineers and medical professionals in society. Chris has spent many years working with the National Academies on science communications. He has been a member of the President’s Circle and on the advisory board of the Division on Earth and Life Studies (DELS). In addition to his current appointment, he currently serves as an advisor to the Climate Communications Initiative.

Chris is an photography instructor at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. He is also an adventure guide with Natural World Safaris, leading trips in the Polar regions. Chris works closely with Leica having recently completed an exhibition of his work at Leica Stores nationwide. Additionally, he was an ambassador for the launch of Leica's acclaimed SL2 camera.

Previously, Chris founded and sold two technology companies. He is also the founder of Nautilus Ventures, a seed venture fund. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Chris flew for the Navy as a Navigator and Mission Commander aboard P-3C patrol aircraft.

Chris graduated from the University of Illinois and holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an honorary Doctorate from Tiffin University. Chris serves on the board of Catchlight, a non-profit focused on supporting photographers and innovative leaders in the field of visual storytelling. Chris is also an advisor to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, and a member of the Explorers Club.

-Chris's Personal Projects-

National Academies "New Heroes"

Capturing the essence of leaders in science, engineering, and medicine through soulful images holds tangible value for our society. In a world often absorbed by the superficial, these quiet portraits can provide an opportunity to shift our focus towards the individuals who, through their scientific endeavors, play a vital role in our collective existence. Their profound impact on our lives ranges from advancements in health care and technology, to tackling pressing issues like climate change and energy sustainability. Each of these photographs is licensed freely and given to subjects, their institutions and, ultimately, the historical record.

As the Artist-in-Residence at the National Academies, he's photographed some of the nation's most accomplished scientists, from Astronauts to Nobel laureates.


His high-impact images have been seen by millions and have appeared broadly in print and in everything from Google screensavers to album covers. He has published a number of fine art books and is currently working on his latest book with travel writer, Pico Iyer.

The Philosophy Behind My Photographs

Christopher Michel at The Interval

"Terra Incognita: Exploring the Earth's Most Remote Places" was given on March 6, 02018 as part of The Long Now Foundation's “Conversations at The Interval” Salon Talks. These hour long talks are recorded live at The Interval, our bar, cafe, & museum in San Francisco. Since 02014 this series has presented artists, authors, entrepreneurs, scientists (and more) taking a long-term perspective on subjects like art, design, history, nature, technology, and time.

Chris Michel Bio 2BANDW

"Navigating through the ethereal landscapes of East Greenland aboard the ship Polarfront, I felt a profound connection with nature's most pristine artistry. The endless and layered landscapes were mesmerizing, with cathedral-like icebergs standing as timeless sentinels, their intricate crystalline structures reflecting hues of blue and white against the vast Arctic sky. Each iceberg seemed to whisper tales of eons past. At night, the dark sky was alive the Northern Lights, curtains of green, blue and purple danced above the mast of the ship."

' As we ventured further into this frozen paradise, it wasn't just the majesty of the landscapes that captivated my lens but also the vibrant life that thrives amidst the seeming desolation. Majestic polar bears, with an aura of regal calmness, roamed the terrains, while the graceful musk-oxen moved with an understated elegance. The playful arctic foxes and elusive arctic hares added a touch of dynamism, punctuating the serene stillness with their antics. But this voyage was more than just an immersion into nature's wonders; it was a soulful exploration of human endurance and spirit. When we anchored near Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the Arctic's remotest Inuit towns, I was welcomed into a world where tradition and modernity coexist. I was inspired by the stories of the locals - of their ancestors, tales of survival, and their deep-rooted bond with the ice-clad surroundings. Every evening, as I settled into the comforting embrace of the Polarfront, the day's adventures would replay in my mind – a poignant symphony of nature's grandeur and the indomitable human spirit, forever captured through my photographs. A perfect trip. '

-Chris Michel- Sept. 2023 - Greenland