Sunday, 17 November 2013

125 years of national geographic: the power of photography

I have been a great lover of National Geographic since the old, well-thumbed copies in the loo at my Gran's house. You know what I mean. Good old-fashioned toilet reading material. When they went online, I was happier than a piggie in...well you can fill in the blanks. Happy. Info on weird little cannibalistic insects and faraway red giants, available any time I cared to look. Robert Draper, a writer for Nat Geo, wrote an article called "The Power of Photography" in celebration of 125 years of the institution.

"By wresting a precious particle of the world from time and space and holding it absolutely still, a great photograph can explode the totality of our world, such that we never see it quite the same again."

"When I tell people that I work for this magazine, I see their eyes grow wide, and I know what will happen when I add, as I must: “Sorry, I’m just one of the writers.” A National Geographic photographer is the personification of worldliness, the witness to all earthly beauty, the occupant of everybody’s dream job. I’ve seen The Bridges of Madison County—I get it, I’m not bitter. But I have also frequently been thrown into the company of a National Geographic photographer at work, and what I have seen is everything to admire and nothing whatsoever to envy."

"Let’s not confuse nobility with glamour. What transfixes me, almost as much as their images, is my colleagues’ cheerful capacity for misery. Apparently they wouldn’t have it any other way."
"In a world seemingly benumbed by a daily avalanche of images, could those eyes still cut through the clutter and tell us something urgent about ourselves and about the imperiled beauty of the world we inhabit? I think the question answers itself."

  1. The most famous Nat Geo magazine cover of an Afghani girl, 1985
  2. A parasitic Eupelmis vuilleti wasp up close, very close
  3. Close encounter with an ellie in Botswana
  4. Photographing penguins in a snowstorm in South Georgia
  5. The failure that wasn't a failure - Amelia Earheart circa 1937
  6. Jane Goodall and a baby Chimp in Tanzania, 1965
  7. The critically endangered Cape Parrot, indigenous to South Africa and part of a huge community-centred conservation effort
  8. View of the Long Island, Bahamas from space (taken by an astronaut!)

You can see the entire collection on

No comments:

Post a Comment