The Amazing Yellow-Bordered Magazine — John Stanmeyer

- - Working

John Stanmeyer begins a multi-part blog series on what it’s like to shoot for National Geographic:

Photography on very convoluted stories often flows like this: 70 percent research/logistics, 20 percent serendipity…and 10 percent photography.

It’s one thing to pen up a story proposal based upon research collected from news stories, books, feelings and direct observation. A proposal next evolves into a “Oh shit, now I have to make this happen!”

Some stories visually speak for themselves — war/conflict, social revolutions, famine and other event driven stories are primarily (though not all) about recording the occurrence transpiring before us. Long term photography projects are meditative, layered and protracted.

They can also be riddled in logistics, especially when it’s a story being told from many locations, like the food crisis would become.

Read the whole post here.

Note: He’s got other interesting posts up on shooting a book with a holga and music. Check it out:

There Are 5 Comments On This Article.

  1. These days guys like John Stanmeyer seem to get forgotten amid the chatter about how hard it is to make it, etc, while he’s out there waist deep in the Kolkata monsoon. Now that’s hard. I particularly like what he said about approaching projects:

    “Having a story idea approved is always a stupendous and appreciative moment. Even the most benign and shortest story should be relished as if it were a quarter of a million dollar grant to photograph anything you believe in. No story is too short nor too long to not be utterly committed. Suppose this approach makes sense, especially if you had a mother and father hammer the reality of life at a young age.”

  2. TimR well said…
    I am looking forward to reading the coming posts. Back in the late sixties as a kid I wanted to be a photographer for NG. Maybe one day it will still happen.

  3. Agree completely with John McD — superb photographer and great guy, and very inspiring and encouraging to less-accomplished photogs. Glad to see his blog will be unveiling some of the hundreds of great stories he has.