Working for the National Geographic Magazine


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Red Dawn

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#1
Hi

An interesting insight into the trials and tribulations of working on assignment for the National Geographic by a woman photographer....

"I subscribe to various online editorial photography list-serves. Usually I scan the subjects and keep quiet. Several months ago ABC's Nightline aired a program about photography at the National Geographic Magazine. Discussion about the program on one of the list-serves sparked some debate. Some photographers seemed quite taken with the idea of shooting a thousand rolls of film on assignment, coming back with 40,000 pictures and narrowing that down to just 22 for use in a magazine article. Here is a sample of a couple of the posts:

"I have always said that, given that amount of time, film, expense money, transportation and other support, few working photojournalists could not come back with a photo package for National Geographic," and "But ponder this, if you let an amateur with 1,000 rolls of film and huge zoom lenses wander around Africa for a few months... couldn't they come out with 22 great pictures?"
Read the full article here....
 

erwinx

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#2
Originally posted by Red Dawn
Hi

An interesting insight into the trials and tribulations of working on assignment for the National Geographic by a woman photographer....



Read the full article here....
If you let a few amateurs wander around the Zoo or JBP every week, taking 1000s of shots, would they come back with the same number of great pictures?
 

#3
Originally posted by erwinx


If you let a few amateurs wander around the Zoo or JBP every week, taking 1000s of shots, would they come back with the same number of great pictures?
By luck, maybe yes. :)

Come to think of it, with a MicroDrive and a digital camera, you CAN take 1000s of shots... and those who have the likes of digital wallet, x-drive, imagetank, etc can shoot even more.

If you don't know what you are doing, shooting 1000s of shots obviously isn't going to help.

Regards
CK
 

Kit

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I believe that just because only 22 images were chosen out of the 40,000 doesn't means that the rest were bad. How are they possibly going to publish all 40,000 of them?? Its called selection.
 

StreetShooter

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I am often asked to look at portfolios of photographers at all levels. You'd be surprised by the number of really bad portfolios I have seen from photographers who have good jobs and travel opportunities. I have seen marvelous portfolios from photographers who work exclusively in their own neighborhoods. A good photographer knows his/her subject and has a sense of who they are and what is important to them. You need more than an exotic place to take good photos, in fact, at times that can be a hindrance.
I thought this was a good observation.
 

StreetShooter

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This one, too.

Everyone is different in how they create. Cartier-Bresson once wrote something to the effect of, "sometimes you must produce a lot of milk to make a little bit of cheese," even though he was known for shooting quickly in the blink of an eye before anyone was the wiser, a style one would suppose would encourage the economical use of film.
 

Kit

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Yup, how many times have you heard people complaining about nothing to shoot in SIngapore. They failed to look.
 

Ian

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I've been telling people for years about the shot to publication ratio of NG. Most of us professional photographers would go broke fast if we had such poor pubication ratios :devil:
 

Ian

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#9
Originally posted by Kit
Yup, how many times have you heard people complaining about nothing to shoot in SIngapore. They failed to look.
It's not just limited to Singapore .. it's a world wide problem.
 

Ian

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#10
Originally posted by Kit
I believe that just because only 22 images were chosen out of the 40,000 doesn't means that the rest were bad. How are they possibly going to publish all 40,000 of them?? Its called selection.
Have a look at the NG online feature called either 'our town' or 'your town USA' or something like that.. theres hundreds of truly crap shots there by NG photographers.
 

tomshen

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#11
Maybe the great ones at here are really exceptional. For some photographers he/she might only have a few "great" shots in his/her life, with a pro standard. btw, being published does not necessarily mean to be "great".
 

Red Dawn

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#12
Originally posted by Ian

Have a look at the NG online feature called either 'our town' or 'your town USA' or something like that.. theres hundreds of truly crap shots there by NG photographers.
Hi Ian,

u must be talking about the ZipUSA section of the magazine :devil: (the online feature is probably related to the ZipUSA section, where it features stories from the USA itself)

yup i think the worst shots come from there, but hey i think they use that section to introduce / try out new photographers too. The freelancers always get to take that section. The section is also overall very low profile in the magazine.

occasionally one of the more established photographers might take that section, but generally, u see a lot of different new names everytime.

the major stories are almost always dominated by another set of established names.
 

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