Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

After years of drought and depopulation, many parts of the Great Plains meet the historic definition of frontier territory: an area with no more than six people per square mile. Nebraska, 2004.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jim Richardson / National Geographic Creative

Hunting down groceries in poorly stocked markets, like this butcher shop in central Havana, is a daily challenge. Cubans receive ration books that secure staples like rice, beans, and oil at low prices. But itÕs not enough to live on.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paolo Pellegrin / Magnum Photos

Noor Nisa, about 18, was pregnant; her water had just broken. Her husband, whose first wife had died during childbirth, was determined to get her to the hospital in Faizabad, a four-hour drive from their village in Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province. His borrowed car broke down, so he went to find another vehicle. I ended up taking Noor Nisa, her mother and her husband to the hospital, where she delivered a baby girl. My interpreter, who is a doctor, and I were on a mission to photograph maternal health and mortality issues, only to find the entire story waiting for us along a dusty road. 2010.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lynsey Addario /  VII

Miners eat lunch from a communal bowl in the mining town of Pluto in Ituri Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They work here to extract rock and sand from a large pit which has taken over a year to excavate. The miners are made up of many different people from all over Congo who come to seek their fortune.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Marcus Bleasdale / VII

A Bushman and his family tracked game across the Kalahari dunes in South Africa. 1996

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Chris Johns / National Geographic Creative

Churchgate Railway Station in Mumbai. 2010

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Randy Olson / National Geographic Creative

A man at the Giza pyramids in Egypt, eager to sell rides to foreigners on his elaborately adorned camels, shows a photo of better days for his business.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Alex Majoli / Magnum Photos

Mountaineers traverse a ridge in the Swiss Alps. The sport of mountaineering began in earnest in the Alps after Alfred Willis climbed the Wetterhorn in 1854. Campo Tencia, Switzerland, 1920s.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jean Gaberell / National Geographic

An Eskimo man models a space age-looking parka fashioned of walrus intestine, which is impermeable to water. Nome, Alaska, 1900.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carl L. Lomen / National Geographic

Instead of cars carrying workers, Nepal has workers carrying cars on the trail from Katmandu. Automobiles, stripped of wheels and bumpers, are shoulder-borne to and from the capital and only Nepalese city with modern roads. This old German-made Mercedes is going to India as a trade-in on a shiny American model. Nepal, 1948.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Volkmar K. Wentzel / National Geographic

A cowgirl dropped a nickel in a parking meter to hitch her pony. El Paso, Texas, 1939.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Marden / National Geographic

Early one morning I was driving past a row of abandoned workers' houses north of Lehi, Ark. in 2010 when I spotted a pair of women's shoes on a porch. In a Lucite box, covered in ruby red glitter, they glowed like broken glass.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eugene Richards / Magnum Photos

Injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, Staff. Sgt. Jason Welsh suffered a broken neck, a head injury and, worst of all, survivorÕs guilt. Three comrades died in the blast. Charlottsville, VA. 2006.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: James Nachtwey / VII

Jordan Spencer, 18, left, of Grand Prairie, Texas identifies herself as black and biracial; Celeste Seda, 26, of Brooklyn, New York identifies herself as Dominican and Korean.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Martin Schoeller / AUGUST Image

A southern elephant seal barks loudly as it breaks the waterÕs surface. The largest of all seals at up to 8,800 pounds, it gets its name from having a truck-like snout. Point Henry, Victoria, Australia, 2004.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jason Edwards / National Geographic Creative

Cubs of the Simba East pride: too young to kill but old enough to crave meat. Adult females, and sometimes males, do the hunting. Zebras and wildebeests rank high as chosen prey in the rainy season. Tanzania.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Nichols / National Geographic Creative

Its image mirrored in icy water, a polar bear travels submergedÑa tactic often used to surprise prey. Scientists fear global warming could drive bears to extinction sometime this century. Canada, 2004.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Nicklen / National Geographic Creative

"I expected this leopard seal to flee with her catch, a live penguin chick, but she dropped it on my camera,Ó says Nicklen. Since these aggressive mammals eat whatever they find in the variable ice pack, scientists track their diets to gauge changes caused by global warming. Antarctica, 2006.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Nicklen / National Geographic Creative

A five-month-old mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) reacts to a visitor near a bushmeat market in Malabo, a city on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea. This animal was brought over from mainland Africa, most likely as an infant. Once fully grown, many such pets are sold into the bushmeat trade and consumed as food. Though this country has laws on the books stating that taking primates from the wild is illegal, poaching continues to be rampant both in Equatorial Guinea and many other African nations. Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea, 2008.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joel Sartore / National Geographic Creative

Steve McCurryÕs iconic photograph of a young Afghan girl in a Pakistan refugee camp appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazineÕs June 1985 issue and became the most famous cover image in the magazineÕs history. Pakistan, 1984.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Steve McCurry / National Geographic Creative

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125 years of still magic | National Geographic photography exhibit comes to Annenberg Space for Photography

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125 years of still magic | National Geographic photography exhibit comes to Annenberg Space for Photography

By Barbara Davidson, Los Angeles Times

The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years,” an exhibit celebrating the 125th anniversary of the magazine, begins Oct. 26 and runs through April 27, 2014, at the Annenberg Space for Photography with more than 500 images.

The exhibit was co-curated by Sarah Leen, director of photography for National Geographic magazine, and Bill Marr, the magazine’s creative director. On curating such a large body of work Leen explains,

“It started with this question–how do you build a photography show in a finite space that will represent a 125-year-long history of exploring the world and telling stories with photography? Well, you can’t. Not with any depth or surprises. So we abandoned the idea of doing a strictly print show and started to think of displaying the images on grids of LED screens. Our operating principle became, “Too much is not enough and more is more.”

“Once we moved from prints to digital it started to get fun and we ended up with a show that contains 500+1 images displayed on ever-changing screens and on what we call “wallpaper,” which is floor to ceiling grids of all the images that are in the show. There are also a selection of single prints that represent the work from the October 125th anniversary issue of the magazine.”

“When you walk through the space the images will be changing on the screens about every half minute or so. You can stand and watch as long as you like or move on to the next section, then return later. Your experience of the exhibit will be unique to you. You can also experience the images on the wallpaper as well as videos and a series of photographer interviews we have been collecting for the past year.”

“We hope this will be a rich, immersive experience, that takes you on the journey we have been on for the past 125 years. It is a show that celebrates the photographers and their passion. A passion we all share, the belief in the power of photography.”

Framework asked three contributing photographers to discuss their images:

Paul Nicklen

National Geographic“A large female leopard seal greeted me in the water by opening her massive jaws and engulfing the camera and much of my head. After establishing her dominance, she relaxed and started trying to feed me penguins. At over 3 meters long and 500 kilograms, she dwarfed me in the water. The most exciting moments in my work are those when I am at the mercy of a great predator like this leopard seal. To truly experience living you have to relinquish control and make yourself vulnerable. I couldn’t sleep after meeting this amazing animal and I couldn’t wait to get back in the water with her the following morning. Each day she would come across the bay to our Zodiac and greet us, waiting for me to get back in the water. The intensity of this once-in-a-lifetime relationship with an incredible animal brought me to tears . . . tears of joy and wonder.”

Jim Richardson

National Geographic“Photographing the Great Plains was a story straight out of my upbringing. I grew up on a farm, knew the lingering agony of drought and the dread of approaching storms, and how either can ruin your life. So when I was on the Hawthorn Ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska, out with the guys putting up hay when this monster storm started rolling in, it was as if I had been hardwired for the moment. Everything stops while everyone considers the situations — carefully. Some of it is just awe at the power of the elements, some of it the sense of being in the moment, of understanding something in an elemental way.

The picture has always spoken to me of the understanding people get for a place, something akin to love but without the sentimentality. Just simple acceptance tempered with good judgment and more than a little caution.”

Eugene Richards

National GeographicBack in April 2010, I was on a Geographic assignment in the Arkansas delta, an assignment that was, in effect, a return to a place where I’d lived and worked more than 40 years earlier. I’d first gone down to the Arkansas delta, you see, as a VISTA volunteer and stayed to help found a social service organization and community newspaper. So what I was doing back in 2010 was both searching out what little I could find of the past while trying to report on life as it is now. Needless to say, what had once been a sharecropper culture was now grand scale industrial farming. As for the shoes, it sounds improbable, but I spotted them on the porch of an abandoned farm workers’ shack in a place called Lehi. It was such an unusual find that I asked my assistant to take a snapshot of me as I approached the house. The shoes, of course, were Dorothy’s ruby slippers and they were encased in a lucite box.

What makes the story interesting is that after photographing the shoes, I tucked them away under a sofa that was sitting out on the porch. Then a month later when I returned, I wanted to show them to my wife, Janine, who was traveling with me. But as we approached the house, a van full of paramilitary soldiers or pretend soldiers climbed out of a van and asked us in no uncertain terms why we were there. Janine said, “I wanted to see the red shoes.” And a huge, tattooed man said, “You mean Dorothy’s shoes?” He clearly knew what she meant. Then he asked us to leave.

Now why is the image meaningful to me? First off and quite simply, the glittering red shoes sitting out in the sunshine were surreally beautiful. But more importantly, they were a myth coming alive. Not an Arkansas myth, because of course Dorothy was from rural Kansas. But in your imagination the tornado had dropped the shoes atop this sad little house. On a very personal level, I feel that the best photographs are the ones that you don’t quickly understand, that you must keep returning to to understand.

Oh, one last thing. It took a while, meaning I did return to the house, despite the warning to stay away. And I came to realize that the lucite box holding the shoes had once hung in the tiny front room of the house that was once a home to migrant workers. So I’m thinking that the migrant worker probably had a little girl and that the shoes were something to inspire her.

1 Comment

  1. October 25, 2013, 10:59 am

    An amazing and ground-breaking exhibit, immersing visitors in the sea change from print to digital imagery. The awesome impact of National Geographic is truly experienced here, in a n ever-changing flow of powerful photography, overwhelming, but in a wonderful way. Go!

    By: robinmonk

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