Chances are if you walked past a National Geographic photographer on the street, you wouldn’t know it—and that’s how they like it. As photographer and Editor at Large Michael “Nick” Nichols puts it, “I want people to remember the pictures, not my name or what I look like.” But as part of our 125th anniversary special issue this October, we wanted to turn the camera around on Nick and his fellow photographers.
The photographers of National Geographic magazine come from all walks of life. Their insights about the world are built over lifetimes devoted to documenting the lives of others. Their pictures are proof of their passion. But beyond the photographs, so many of these photographers are my heroes. They are our friends, our colleagues, our community. And with these upcoming videos, we want to share with you why.
This video portrait series is a labor of love. It involved sitting down with 44 photographers coming through headquarters this year to talk with me about how they found photography, and why they never left. From my interviewer’s chair, it felt like traveling to endless worlds without ever moving an inch. These were not your typical interviews; they were shoptalk conversations that didn’t seem to start or end in that room. We recently premiered this first installment, comprised of excerpts, at the international photography festival Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan, France. Consider this a sneak peek of each resulting individual video portrait that is to come.