John Weller

Co-Lead, Tribal Rights & Environmental Justice project; Owner, John Weller Photography
John Weller filming Guardians of Raja Ampat, by Shawn Heinrichs


John Weller is a critically acclaimed photographer, writer and filmmaker based in Boulder, Colorado.  Nature photography has been his passion since childhood, and after graduating from Stanford University with a degree in Economics, John began pursuing media full time. He spent two years in California working for photographer William Neill and then moved home to Colorado, where he fell in love with Great Sand Dunes National Park. For one week of every month over more than three years, he walked with a 120-pound pack deep into the extraordinary landscape. With each trip, he further understood interconnections within the ecosystem, including his own. His goal solidified – to communicate the value of pristine places, reminding people we are part of the same living system.

From that work John published a book of photography and essays, Great Sand Dunes National Park: Between Light and Shadow. The book won national and international attention and more importantly, the work engendered a greater appreciation for the delicate dune ecosystem. “With this moving, haunting, informative and beautiful book, John Weller has become not just the Ansel Adams, but also the Edward Abbey, of the Great Sand Dunes.” –Clay Evans, Boulder Daily Camera Book Review.


John started working on The Last Ocean, an outreach project directed specifically at the Ross Sea, with Antarctic Ecologist Dr. David Ainley in 2004.  Since then he has worked full time on the project as fundraiser, organizer, designer, writer, photographer and filmmaker.  His efforts have catalyzed an international movement to protect the Ross Sea.  He is a SeaWeb Fellow and was awarded a prestigious Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation in 2009.  The fellowship has further supported John to produce a set of short films that introduce critical marine issues to a wide public audience. Weller’s first short film on the Ross Sea was a finalist in the 2010 Blue Ocean Festival. The film has gained wide acclaim from peers in the photographic, filmmaking, and conservation worlds.

John’s work has been shown in prestigious museums and galleries, and is part of private and corporate collections across the world. He has had more than 20 one-man photography shows since 1999, and his work has been published in magazines including Outdoor Photographer, American Photo, Rangefinder Magazine, and National Geographic.

John’s role on the “Indigenous Rights and Environmental Sustainability” project is to educate all students involved in videography, photography and storytelling with these tools.