Juergen and Stella Freund

Guest Lecturers

Juergen Freund, originally from Germany, is an internationally renowned wildlife and conservation photojournalist who forged a photographic career spanning over three decades. His storytelling imagery has graced exhibitions and the pages of esteemed publications worldwide, namely GEO Magazin, Greenpeace (Germany), BBC Wildlife Magazine, Esquire (UK), Illustreret Videnskab (NL), Ranger Rick (US) among others. Juergen’s powerful images have earned him prestigious awards, including the World Press Photo and Nature’s Best Photography.

With eleven wins in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, Juergen served on the jury of the #55th Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), standing among the world’s elite nature and conservation-focused photographers—using his art to further environmental and wildlife conservation efforts on a global scale.

Stella Chiu-Freund, hailing from a Chinese-Filipino background, was born and raised in Manila with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. Her love for the ocean and nature led her to master scuba diving, enabling her to oversee underwater film crews for an environmental documentary “Resource at Risk: Philippine Coral Reefs.” Transitioning from advertising to documentary film production, Stella’s repertoire expanded to include notable works like “Jose Rizal: Ang Buhay ng Isang Bayani” (“The Life of a Hero”), a film celebrating the Philippines’ national hero. Founding her production company, Moving Images, Stella produced documentaries covering a variety of subjects including Philippine Lenten Rituals, ecotourism in the Philippines, and indigenous dream weavers from Southern Mindanao.

Stella’s organisational skills laid the groundwork for her future collaboration with Juergen. A fateful encounter in Manila during a wildlife advertising campaign in 1999 led to their marriage in 2000, marking the start of their shared journey. Together, their inaugural project involved exploring the Sulu Sulawesi marine ecoregion, culminating in the publication of the acclaimed book “Sulu Sulawesi Seas.” Created in collaboration with WWF-Philippines and publisher Bookmark, this work stands as a definitive portrayal of the region’s marine life, livelihoods, and environmental challenges.

On assignment as visiting journalists to document the Great Barrier Reef in 2001, they captured stunning marine stories for German publications.  In 2003, they immigrated to Australia choosing to live in Far North Queensland, exploring nature from the two World Heritage Sites they are blessed to call their backyard. Their ongoing pursuit of stories takes them across the vast expanse of Australia, from its eastern shores to the western coast, and from the northern tip to the southern oceans.

For over two decades, Stella and Juergen have fostered a close relationship with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), united by a shared mission to visually document the Coral Triangle, a global biodiversity hotspot. Through their lens, they capture the region’s abundant biodiversity and the livelihoods of its fisher folk. Their remarkable journeys are vividly chronicled in a comprehensive book “The Coral Triangle,” co-published by the Asian Development Bank and WWF. Encompassing the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste, this 276-page masterpiece features over 400 captivating photographs, showcasing the region’s diverse inhabitants, seascapes, landscapes, and wildlife. It serves as an important reminder of this fragile environment, underscoring the urgent need for its protection.


Continuing their journey to document the marvels of the natural world, Juergen and Stella are driven by an insatiable curiosity and deep gratitude for the opportunity to pursue their passion. Alongside their extensive photographic ventures, they have authored over four books and contributed to many more, each celebrating the vibrant stories of nature. Through their collaboration with WWF, they visually strengthen conservation messages, advocating tirelessly for the preservation of our planet’s fragile ecosystems.

Utilising their photographic expertise and wealth of stories as photo naturalists, they seamlessly integrate into the Coral Expeditions community. They join as guest lecturers, sharing their passion for storytelling and photography with expedition guests, enriching each other’s encounters during their voyages. Throughout their journeys, they find joy in the companionship and stories shared with fellow travelers, strengthening their belief in the deep connection between humanity and the natural world.