The not so glamorous life, it should say, of a National Geographic photographer. Looking closely at things most people don’t see can be a hazardous job. Being deeply passionate about photography can be a dangerous thing. You might know from own experience what it took to get that shot you’ll always remember. Maybe you had to cross a line. Maybe you endangered yourself. Or maybe you were just lucky. Many of the photographers we consider to be the best of their trade aren’t always lucky:
Take Wes C. Skiles, a freelance photographer for National Geographic Magazine who recently died while filming underwater in the ocean off Florida, his home state. He was 52. That’s a terribly young age to go. At least he did what he loved doing in his final moments.
In a tribute to Wes Skiles and other photographers who often put their life and wellbeing on the line, The Photo Society, a website run by a collection of National Geographic photographers, put together a list of incidents good photographers just have to live with.
There’s the occasional “assorted animal attack,” some burns and broken bones plus lots of diarrhea, threats and robbings. Anything to add yourself. For the full list, enjoy The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer…
Would be nice to know the specific assignments some of those occurred on… and not less interesting would be a list of positive occurrences, made possible by a camera, such as doors opened, people met, access gained, moments shared, secrets discovered, fell in love, and so forth. The right usage of the camera outweighs the risks manifold, one might even call the camera a positive social force.