CRISTINA MITTERMEIER AND PAUL NICKLEN
At the end of 2022, Rolex announced a new collaboration with world-renowned conservation photographers Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen. This new addition to the Perpetual Planet Initiative further strengthens and embraces its growing pool of partnerships and projects. Rolex supports Mittermeier and Nicklen in their tireless work, highlighting the issues facing the world’s oceans and inspiring positive action.
Together, the couple have co-founded the non-profit organization SeaLegacy, a non-profit organization that brings together filmmakers, photographers, marine and climate experts, indigenous leaders and policymakers from around the world to build engagement and protect our oceans.
CRISTINA MITTERMEIER AND PAUL NICKLEN
Growing up in the small, landlocked Mexican town of Cuernavaca, Cristina Mittermeier was enthralled by the ocean when her dad first took her to the coast. Going on to study marine science, Mittermeier soon realized the critical challenges faced by the planet’s oceans. To draw attention to the urgent changes needed, she moved into visual storytelling and became an influential leading figure in the field of conservation photography.
“I REALIZED I COULD BUILD ON MY FORMAL TRAINING AS A BIOLOGIST TO BECOME A VOICE FOR THE OCEAN AND ITS PEOPLES”
Cristina Mittermeier, Rolex Partner and Conservation Photographer
Across her multi-award-winning career, Mittermeier has documented many of the untold wonders of the oceans. She founded the International League of Conservation photographers to provide a platform for those working on environmental issues, and was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year.
Paul Nicklen is an acclaimed wildlife photographer, author, and filmmaker. His passion and respect for nature was cultivated during his childhood amongst the Arctic Inuit community on Baffin Island, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. This early experience gave Nicklen a rare understanding of some of today’s most threatened ecosystems, and how it is possible to live in harmony with the oceans. Like Mittermeier, Nicklen began his career scientifically studying marine life before becoming a photographer and has since spent his time documenting the breath-taking beauty of some of the Earth’s most extreme environments. His work is celebrated for illuminating the link between biodiversity loss and climate change, and depicting how our precious ecosystems are being pushed to the brink of destruction.
“I HAVE BEEN SO AFFECTED BY THESE PEOPLE, PLACES, SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMS, THAT I SIMPLY CANNOT LOOK AWAY.”
Paul Nicklen, Rolex Partner and Conservation Photographer
Together with photographer and filmmaker Andy Mann, Mittermeier and Nicklen founded SeaLegacy, a non-profit organization that uses photography and other visual media to raise awareness of the threats the ocean faces, but also of the tireless work being done to protect it. By partnering with Mittermeier and Nicklen, the Perpetual Planet Initiative is continuing its commitment to support inspiring individuals who lead by example in the fight to save our seas.
SHARING THE OCEAN’S STORIES
Healthy oceans are essential for the planet’s survival. Wanting to catalyse change, Mittermeier and Nicklen are exposing serious threats and calling attention to solutions. Across more than 45 expeditions, they have documented over 765 species and captured over 7 million images. Their work is already known world-wide, and they have an impressive, combined following of 9 million people on Instagram alone, but they strive to reach even more people.
The Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative supports Mittermeier and Nicklen’s vision and values and will allow for their messages to be shared with new audiences while they continue to provide a view of the oceans like no other. In the two films they produced with Rolex’s support, the ocean is featured as a place of discovery and exploration that supports all life on earth, including our own. It’s an environment that can and must be saved for future generations.
ABOUT THE PERPETUAL PLANET INITIATIVE
For nearly a century, Rolex has supported pioneering explorers pushing back the boundaries of human endeavour. The company has moved from championing exploration for the sake of discovery to protecting the planet, committing for the long term to support individuals and organizations using science to understand and devise solutions to today’s environmental challenges.
This engagement was reinforced with the launch of the Perpetual Planet Initiative in 2019, which initially focused on individuals who contribute to a better world through the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, on safeguarding the oceans as part of an established association with Mission Blue, and on understanding climate change via its long- standing partnership with the National Geographic Society.
An expanding portfolio of other partnerships embraced by the Perpetual Planet Initiative now includes: Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen in their work as conservation photographers; Rewilding Argentina and Rewilding Chile, offspring organizations of Tompkins Conservation, which are protecting landscapes in South America; Coral Gardeners, transplanting resilient corals to reefs; Steve Boyes and the Great Spine of Africa series of expeditions, exploring the continent’s major river basins; the Under The Pole expeditions, pushing the boundaries of underwater exploration; the B.I.G expedition to the North Pole in 2023, gathering data on threats to the Arctic; and the Monaco Blue Initiative, bringing together ocean conservation experts.
Rolex also supports organizations and initiatives fostering the next generations of explorers, scientists and conservationists through scholarships and grants such as Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society and The Rolex Explorers Club Grants.