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Tanya Griffin Houppermans began her diving career in 2008 and quickly fell in love with the underwater world. She became a passionate shark conservationist after learning that more than 70 million sharks are killed by humans annually worldwide. To help with shark conservation efforts, she decided to start photographing sharks to show the public that these misunderstood animals are not the vicious monsters so often portrayed by the media, and that they are actually beautiful, graceful, intelligent creatures that desperately need our help.  In 2015 Tanya left her career as a mathematician and military defense analyst to pursue underwater photography and marine conservation full time.

  • Tanya photographs a tiger shark off the coast of Grand Bahama (photo courtesy of Pat Sinclair)

    Tanya photographs a tiger shark off the coast of Grand Bahama (photo courtesy of Pat Sinclair)

  • Photographing an American saltwater crocodile in the mangroves of Gardens of the Queen, Cuba

    Photographing an American saltwater crocodile in the mangroves of Gardens of the Queen, Cuba

Tanya has been the recipient of numerous international awards for her photos, including an unprecedented three 1st Place awards in the 'Sharks' category in the World Shootout (2015, 2017, and 2021), 1st Place in the 'Shipwrecks' category in the World Shootout, 1st Place in the 'Portrait' category of the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition, the Grand Prize in the Big Picture Natural World Photography competition, and most recently she was named the Mangrove Photographer of the Year in the Mangrove Photography Awards 2022. Her articles and images have appeared in publications in over 20 countries, including National Geographic, Oceanographic Magazine, Scuba Diving, Tauchen, and Plongez. She has also conducted speaking engagements around the globe in locations such as Shanghai, Singapore, and Paris, and was recently the Honored Guest Speaker of the prestigious Capital Speaker's Club of Washington DC.

Speaking in Shanghai, China at the International Nature Travel Awards

Speaking in Shanghai, China at the International Nature Travel Awards

  • Tanya's sand tiger image 'Harmony' displayed at the California Academy of Sciences

    Tanya's sand tiger image 'Harmony' displayed at the California Academy of Sciences

  • Headlining the Washington DC Dive Show

    Headlining the Washington DC Dive Show

Combining her extensive knowledge of sharks and her background in math and science, Tanya's career quickly evolved to include participating in shark research and partnering with some of the world's leading shark scientists. This eventually led to her appearing on the National Geographic program Shark Gangs which highlighted her work with North Carolina's sand tiger sharks. Tanya finds contributing to our knowledge of sharks one of the most fulfilling parts of her job, and she continues to be involved in ground-breaking shark research and future broadcast media projects.

Tanya enjoying a day working with divers from the Georgia Aquarium and NC Aquariums to study sand tiger sharks off the coast of North Carolina

Tanya enjoying a day working with divers from the Georgia Aquarium and NC Aquariums to study sand tiger sharks off the coast of North Carolina

Tanya currently lives in Virginia, just south of Washington DC. Both her husband and 24-year old son are recreational scuba divers. Tanya's son also has autism, and she is very proud of him for earning his Open Water scuba certification from the Handicapped Scuba Association when he was 17 years old. So far he has dived in Bonaire, Florida, Mexico, and even in the shark tank in the North Carolina Aquarium at Ft Fisher!

Tanya's son (foreground) and husband surfacing from a dive in Bonaire

Tanya's son (foreground) and husband surfacing from a dive in Bonaire