National Geo: photogs' & editors' choices

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by preston_merchant, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. Frequently we post links here to various National Geographic features,
    which usually result in people noting how terrible David Allan
    Harvey's shots are, or how poor the printing in the mag is, or what a
    travesty digital photography has wrought.

    Here's a chance to examine what was published in the current issue of
    the magazine--Randy Olson's feature on the Mbuti pygmies--and compare
    it to the rest of what Randy shot on that assignment.

    The National Geo Feature--

    Randy's archive--

  2. Preston,

    my first impression when I looked at Randy Olson's website is that the shots are far more diverse than those on the NatGeo website. Also, on his site I find some shots that are more 'dynamic'.

    IMHO the same holds true for the David Alan Harvey shots of Nairobi. The photo gallery on the NatGeo feature page shows a number of very similar pictures; the selection of photos in the actual magazine is more heterogenous and interesting.

    I have no idea how the editing process for magazine and website works at NatGeo, but I'd sure love to learn....

  3. .

    I'd hate to be a photo editor.

    I hate to be photo edited.

    I'm glad we can see both.

    I imagine the National Geographic magazine has a story to tell, and as photographers, WE want to see more pictures, but their "other" audience needs the written story and the pictures must support that.

    Thank our taxes for the Internet that allows us to bypass the usual heirarchies in information distribution.

    Anyone wishing to do away with taxes might consider just what they have that our taxes bought, and consider if they wish to give up that and similar inovation and growth for our own future and our children's future.

    Even though I'm wandering a bit off topic, it relates right on center for me ... kind of like Ansel Adams defending shooting landscapes in a time of war, saying something like "having a landscape at all to shoot is what he was fighting for". Yada yada.

    Thanks for the heads up on the comparative images - quiet an education, and a GREAT sample of building a usable stock photo web site! ;-)


    Love and hugs,

    Peter Blaise
  4. The editors are looking for supportive illustration. A good evocative photo stands alone.
  5. Thank you, Preston! This is very interesting indeed.

    I'd have to read the article before I form a judgement, but perhaps these very illustrative linksreveal Nat. Geo's editorial bag of tricks quite completely.

    National Geographic has always been well known for portraying a world of distinct ethnic groups, colorfully, with an emphasis on local clothes and scenery. The edits confirm this.

    Pictures in which the Mbutis are wearing cast-away clothes generously(!) donated by concerned people in rich countries are left out. So also depictions of the intrusion of modern times into traditional Mbuti life, whether in the form of revolutionary signs or corrugated tin roofs, are left out.

    Surely one of the more unfortunate side effects of aid genorosity has been the widespread distribution of ragged old t-shirts amongst traditional societies at the margins of the modern economy?

    This has happened thanks to the energetic efforts of the UN, aid agencies, churches and their extensive infrastructure. Needless to say, this makes such peoples appear poor/homeless/out of it in our modern urban sensibility.

    So I don't know... Maybe, in fact, it is a good idea after all for Nat. Geo to leave those inconvenient pictures out, reminding us instead (with careful editing) of these peoples' traditional customs in the full dignity of original garb.
  6. There's actually a blurb in this months geographica section about how cast off western
    clothes end up in Africa. How this affects photo editors picks, I don't know.

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