Michael AW is an author, explorer and conservation photographer. His accolades include winning more than 65 international photographic awards and being named as one of the world’s most influential nature photographers by Outdoor Photography. In 2013 he was the first Asian to be awarded a NOGI by the American Academy of Underwater Arts and Science.
In 2012, Michael’s ‘Indonesia’s Global Treasures’ won the International Prize for Best Book of the Year at the World Underwater Pictures Festival (Festival Mondial de l'Image Sous Marine). This artistic book category yielded entries from a host of international authors and photographers including books published by media powerhouses from UK, Germany, Singapore, USA and France. “Global Treasures” received the Palme d'Or (Gold) award. Michael is the first to have won this prestigious award twice; the first was for “Heart of the Ocean” in 2009.
Michael AW’s essays and pictures have been published in BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, the Smithsonian, Nature, Ocean Geographic, Asian Geographic, Nature Focus, Times, and Discovery to name but a few. In 2010 he won the the prestigious Gold Diver award for the highly contested Portfolio category at the World Festival of Underwater Pictures in France. This is the first time an Asian has won this category. He is also a recipient of three awards from the Natural History Museum BBC Photographer of the Year Wildlife Competition in 2000, 2010 and in 2006 he won the Best Winner award in the underwater category. In 2008 Stan Waterman conferred Michael with the Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award from Sharks Research Institute in recognition of his highly-effective and unrelenting campaign against shark fin soup consumption in the Asia Pacific region. Michael is also a recipient of the prestigious WYLAND ICON award for Conservation in 2011 and in 2012 he was presented the Diver of the Year Award at the Beneath the Sea Festival in New Jersey.
Michael remains today, an active member of the Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and a Fellow International of The Explorers Club NY. Some of the most prominent Fellows are Sir Edmund Hillary, Roald Amundsen, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, David Doubilet, Emory Kristof and Sylvia Earle.
In 2015 Michael was the project director for the Elysium Epic imagery expedition with 65 of the world’s most well-known and respected photographers, videographers, explorers, artists, and scientists, such as Dr. Sylvia Earle, David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Ernie Brooks, Michael AW, Dr Cabell Davis, Howard Shaw, Wyland, and Leandro Blanco to the High Arctic of Svalbard and Greenland to create a multi-faceted interpretation of the Arctic in order to inspire greater appreciation, understanding, and love for this critically important region of our planet, while drawing attention to the impacts of climate change. Through the projects’ photos, paintings, science, art installations, videos, music, and educational outreach programs, he hopes to reach out to people around the globe, including government decision-makers and other influencers, to better understand the importance of the Arctic.