Michael AW is the founding director of OceanNEnvironment, a charity organization listed with the Registrar of Environment Australia. As founder of Asian Geographic and publisher of Scuba Diver from 1998 to 2005, he used the magazines to support the conservation efforts of OceanNEnvironment. Taking conservation and education of the ocean to the next level, in 2007 Michael convened an editorial board comprising of Stan Waterman, David Doubilet, Emory Kristof, Gerry Allen PHD, Carden Wallace PHD, Alex Mustard PHD, Doug Perrine, Jennifer Hayes, and Christopher Lee to launch the hallmark of publication for the sea â€“ Ocean Geographic.
Pursuing the art form of documentary photography, Michael AW is well known for his saturated colour imagery. His work on environmental issues and natural history, has been featured in BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, Asian Geographic, GEO, Underwater GEOGRAPHIC, Nature Focus, Action Asia, Scuba Diver, Smithsonian magazine, Ocean Realm (USA), Times, Asia Week, DIVE, Unterwasser, Tauchen, and Aquanaut, to name but a few. His photographs have received more than 50 awards from several international organizations including the prestigious Nikon International Photo Contest on three occasions. Michael is a three time winner at the World Festival of Underwater Pictures, Antibes. In 2002 he won Best Music Adaptation for Video, the Gold Diver statue for Best Black & White print in 2005 and the Bronze stature for Portfolio the most prestigious category of festival in 2006. He is also a recipient of two awards from the Natural History Museum BBC Photographer of the Year Wildlife Competition in 2000 and in 2006 he won the Best Winner award in the underwater category.
Michael has produced and directed two 24-hour photographic documentaries of corals reefs in the Australian Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives in 1995 and 1999 respectively. These extended sojourns have been encapsulated in books and a broadcast video documentary for National Geographic. His first book, â€˜Beneath Bunakenâ€™ about the marine park in Sulawesi received the accolade of being the Presidential â€˜Gift of Stateâ€™ for Indonesia at APEC 1994. Subsequently in 1996 he produced for the Maldives â€“ â€œDreams from a Rainbow Seaâ€, which was used as official gift for the president, fishery and tourism offices. The Four Season Resort Maldives also used this title as premier gift for their guests. He was the co-author and photographer for TANAH AIR, bio-diversity of Indonesia. He has authored 25 natural history books about fishes, corals, invertebrates and he has also contributed to the Encyclopaedias of Malaysia and Indonesia. He has collaborated with Dr. Carden Wallace in one of the most definitive book about the stag horn corals of the Indo-Pacific. His recent accomplishments include the launch of â€œCelebrate the Seaâ€ and Underwater Jungles both high quality case-bound collectors edition published in 2002.
In 2003 he completed â€œRichest Reefs â€“ Indonesiaâ€, a visual extravaganza from some of the most beautiful reefs in the world â€“ this book is adopted by the Indonesian government as an official gift of state. A feature documentary of the same title was also produced in 2003. His most recent work is â€˜Beneath North SulaweSeaâ€™ released in October 2006 with a world wide launch in Birmingham, London, Antibes, Orlando and Singapore. Michael Aw was awarded the prestigious 2008 Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award by SRI president Stan Waterman at 2008 Celebrate the Sea Festival in Manila. The award honors the memory of the late Peter Benchley is awarded for Michaelâ€™s a highly-effective and unrelenting campaign against shark fin soup consumption in the Asia Pacific region.