Ron and Valerie Taylor

Ron and Valerie Taylor

Born in Sydney, Australia, Ron and Valerie Taylor began diving in the 1950s. Both became Australian spearfishing champions and Ron a world spearfishing champion, then turning from hunting to marine conservation.

Ron concentrated on making his own housings for his hobby of underwater photography. He won The Encyclopedia Britannica Award for news photography in 1962, with news clip “Playing with Sharks” received the first of many awards.

In 1966 Ron received both top honours at the International Underwater Film Festival in Santa Monica, and the Underwater Society of America NOGI award for education and sports. Valerie also won a NOGI, for the arts. Between them the Taylors have won more than a dozen international photography awards, including the prestigious American Nature Photographer of the Year and the Jury Award at the Antibes festival. They have written several books and produced dozens of documentaries. Ron, the first person to shoot footage of a white shark in its natural element, shot the live shark footage in Jaws, Jaws 2 and many other movies.

In 1967 Ron conceived the idea of wearing a chain mail suit as shark protection, and in 1979, filmed Valerie testing the suit in the wild, which became the subject of a National Geographic cover story and three documentaries. It also enabled the Taylors to record sharks attacking a human.

Valerie is an advisor to the Australian Minister of Fisheries on marine conservation, and has been instrumental in aiding in the protection of numerous areas and several species.