Perhaps the best-known maritime photographer of the 20th century, Alan Villiers was born in 1903 and brought up in Australia.
He first went to sea in 1919 and his early life was spent sailing in the Southern Seas on square-riggers. He first travelled to the Antarctic on a whaling expedition in 1923 and, amongst many other epic voyages, sailed 58,000 miles around the world between 1934 and 1936. Throughout his life he embarked upon a series of great adventures by sea, many of which he recorded in books, photographs and on cine film.
Self-taught as a cameraman, Villiers had sufficient command of the medium to convey his own ideas and vision. As his reputation both for writing and for photography grew, his books became international best-sellers and he was often sponsored on his voyages by enterprising institutions such as the National Geographic Magazine.
At the end of his life, most of his original film and photographs were given by Villiers on loan to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
Alan Villiers died in 1982.