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PSIHOYOS, Louie. (Dubuque, IA, 1957-- ). Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), a non-profit organization that creates film, photography and media to inspire people to save the oceans was founded in 2005 by Louie Psihoyos. (1) OPS's first film, "The Cove", won over 70 awards around the world. On March 7, 2010, Louie Psihoyos went to the stage at the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony when "The Cove," the film he directed, won the Oscar for "Best Documentary Feature." (2)

The son of a Greek immigrant who fled communist occupation of the Peloponnesos region near Sparta after WORLD WAR II, Psihoyos discovered his interest in photography at the age of six after seeing a National Geographic magazine. He won several Kodak Photography contests by the age of fifteen and worked briefly for several newspapers including the L.A. Times while attending the University of Missouri Journalism Department for photojournalism. (3)

At the age of seventeen, Psihoyos earned a minor role as Sylvester Stallone's wedding photographer in the motion picture, "F.I.S.T." (3) In 1980, just twenty-three years old and having won an unprecedented first place in every category of the prestigious College Photographer of the Year award, he became the first new National Geographic photographer hired on staff in more than a decade. (4) Psihoyos worked for the magazine for the next seventeen years establishing himself as one of the medium's best. He circled the globe dozens of times for National Geographic on photographic missions as diverse as sleep and dreams to the sense of smell.

The "Powder River Basin: The New Energy Frontier, " Psihoyos' first story for National Geographic marked the return of the classic black and white essay, the first published by the magazine in twenty years. (5) He won numerous awards including first place in the World Press Contest, the Hearst Awards, and the National Press Photographers Association. While he shoots pictures for magazines around the world, much of his work is displayed in some of the finest museums and galleries in the world including the Corcoran National Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography in New York; and the Musee de Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland.(6)

He has photographed hundreds of famous people from all walks of life. Working gratis, Psihoyos produced many popular posters of Paul Newman for "Newman's Own," the company which benefits many charities included "The Hole in the Wall Gang," a camp where children with cancer and serious blood diseases find friendship, joy and a renewed sense of being a kid. (7)

Psihoyos lived in New York for ten years in an artist's building that was home and studio to world-famous artists including Sandro Chia, Julian Schnabel, and Arman. He maintained a floor of the building for several years while he created photographs and lived with his wife who danced ballet with George Balanchine's New York City Ballet. (8) After having two children, Nico and Sam, they moved their family to Antigua in the West Indies while Psihoyos wrote. The resulting book, Hunting Dinosaurs published in 1994 by Random House, recounted his travels around the world for National Geographic magazine story documenting dinosaur discoveries. (9) Paleontologists, Charlie and Flo McGovern, named one of their discoveries, "Baby Louie," after Psihoyos. The small embryonic carnivore dinosaur is one of the best-preserved dinosaur eggs in the world and became a center piece for The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. (10)

Psihoyos was a main contributor to the "Material World Project," a U.N. sponsored show of family portraits depicting forty families from different countries with their material possessions. The resulting book from that work was a best seller and has been reprinted dozens of times in many languages. (11) He was the subject of several books about the work of National Geographic photographers including National Geographic On Assignment, Odyssey-The Art of the National Geographic, and National Geographic-The Photographs. He has also been the subject of National Geographic Explorer.(12) Psihoyos has been on contract for Fortune Magazine and shot hundreds of covers for other magazines including Smithsonian, Discover, GEO, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated and Rock and Ice. His work has been seen on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Television and the History Channel. (13)

Psihoyos established himself as one of the principal documentarians of the digital age with his portraits of Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Jim Clark. He also photographed and published a book on Hyperion, the world's first computer-controlled sailing yacht. The 155-foot vessel with nearly 200-foot tall carbon fiber mast was built by The Royal Huisman Shipping yard in Holland, considered to be the finest shipyard in the world for sailing super-yachts. (14)

On March 14, 2010 it was revealed that Psihoyos used the same filming equipment from "The Cove" to prove that "The Hump," an upscale Santa Monica, California restaurant was selling whale meat. The restaurant was charged with a misdemeanor and issued an apology on its web site. (15)

On July 8, 2012, the Goody Awards recognized Academy Award Winner Louie Psihoyos with a Lifetime Achievement for Social Good (aka Golden Goody) Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in ocean education through film and photography as part of their World Ocean Education Campaign. (16)

"Racing Extinction" was set for presentation in 2015. Psihoyos traveled the globe documenting how human behavior has led to the untimely extinction of millions of species. (17) Images of endangered species, including manta rays and blue whales, were projected on the southern side of the Empire State Building from 8-11 p.m. Saturday, August 1, 2015. The project was to “catalyze a movement to preserve the real treasure of our beautiful planet: its life,” according to a "Racing Extinction" press release. People worldwide were invited to participate through social media by using #RacingExtinction. (18)

http://vimeo.com/31804836 Part 1 Psihoyos Interview




1. "Louie Psihoyos," Telluride Mountainfilm. Online: http://www.mountainfilm.org/festival/personalities/louie-psihoyos

2. Oceanic Preservation Society, http://www.opsociety.org/about-ops.htm

3. Louie Psihoyos, http://www.psihoyos.com/

4. Lambert, Alix, "Photographer/Director Louie Psihoyos on 'The Singing Planet,'" http://filmmakermagazine.com/30687-louie-psihoyos-and-the-singing-planet/

5. Business Rockstars-Louie Psihoyos, http://businessrockstars.com/br/rockstars/louie-psihoyos/

6. Ibid.

7. Psihoyos, http://www.psihoyos.com/

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid

12. Ibid.

13. "The OPS Team," http://www.thecovemovie.com/the_team/the-team.htm

14. Psihoyos, http://www.psihoyos.com/

15. Steinhauer, Jennifer, "Oscar Winners Try to Take Whale Off Sushi Plates," http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/us/09sushi.html

16. Social Goods Shout Outs Everyday, "Golden Goody Award-Louie Psihoyos Received Lifetime Achievement Award," http://goodyawards.com/golden-goody-award-louie-psihoyos-receives-lifetime-achievement-award/

17. "Louis Psihoyos,"

18. "Dubuque Native Filmmaker to Project Images of Endangered Species on Empire State Building," TH Media, July 31, 2015, Online:http://www.thonline.com/news/dubuque/article_85ff6e8c-37ac-11e5-922b-873876a0f4f7.html?sp-tk=43C7BCDE98297346E4C2B7D1B39E5EAEB516A47E98B986029DCADF739CC6CB587042D30ED2B961F43F3D3A3C72FDBCC98AF84592BD72E55B37FA6058C5319EB86763E491B59141B271C328C658B4A7FC1E1F737C76002CDAE9FFEAE3C069A6C1B6925FF1579687519B5E17350850FCA6A09D0B4CA3DA7AC8F935548E3C50974B71A23839F2521264DB7C10B66A97BEDD6D58C5ED