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Sivani Babu

Sivani Babu is the co-founder and Creative Director of exploration-driven media company Hidden Compass. She is an award-winning nature photographer and travel journalist whose fascination with capturing nature’s extremes has sent her sailing to Antarctica, chasing storms through Tornado Alley, and hanging out of helicopters above California wildfires — all with camera in hand.

Sivani grew up on California’s Central Coast, where her family instilled in her a love of nature, exploration, and a good story. But it wasn't until her first voyage to Antarctica that she truly discovered photography and its ability to deeply connect people with places they might never see themselves.

With a JD from the University of Pennsylvania and an AB from the University of Chicago, Sivani served as a Teach for America corps member in Texas and later returned to spend a number of fulfilling years representing indigent defendants as a federal public defender before leaving the law and returning to California to pursue her current career. Her time in Texas resulted in an appreciation for the diverse beauty of the state — particularly of the Big Bend Region and its dark night skies, which she photographs every chance she gets.

As a photographer and writer, Sivani has contributed to numerous outlets, including BBC Travel, CNN, AFAR, Geographic Expeditions, Texas Journey, and Backpacker. She has made a career out of combining words and images and publishes extensively about the polar regions. Most recently, her photo essay, “Ice Bear” (which she shot while on a Muench Workshops trip to Svalbard) appeared as a Notable Mention in the 2019 edition of Best American Travel Writing. 

Sivani currently teaches photography, writing, and storytelling around the world, and her images have been displayed in exhibitions from the Sorbonne to San Diego.