All posts filed under: National Geographic

Etem Erol, 1955-2016

The last message I had from Etem hoca was just a few days before he passed away. I had a night layover in Istanbul on my way to Odessa for two months and I asked if he wanted to join some friends for dinner, so naturally I invited Etem, as I had not been back to the city I called home for two years in over a year. He wrote to say he regretted he could not make it that he was leaving early that same morning for Bulgaria with his brother. It was in Bulgaria, I came to learn just a few nights ago from a classmate and fellow student in his Elementary Turkish I class so many years ago, that he had a heart attack and died in his brother’s arms. He was so young, 60, and with so much life and so much still to give. I write this with tears streaming down my face and it’s been more than a day now since I heard this really excruciatingly painful news. It …

Cara Eckholm’s Series on Postwar Bosnia for National Geographic Voices with My Photos

Last October, I traveled to Bosnia with fellow National Geographic Young Explorer Cara Eckholm to report and photograph stories from postwar Bosnia. She now works for the consulting firm, ReD Associates, out of Copenhagen. Below are excerpts and photographs from the series we worked on and completed together. Exploring Sarajevo, 20 Years After Dayton Peace Accord May 29, 2015 From morning to midnight, in sun or snow, pensioners play chess with passion, swinging life-sized pieces across a board painted onto the pavement in the center of Sarajevo. I struck up a conversation with a crowd of bystanders, and learned that was not always so. Twenty years ago, this square was deserted, a victim of Bosnian-Serb mortars. Now, the chess players razz each other against a backdrop of multinational chains. But the past is never absent in Bosnia, and the storefronts face the once-majestic Austro-Hungarian officer club, still riddled with bullet holes two decades after the country’s ethnic war. Supported by a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant, I’ve been exploring Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital that was …

The Phoblographer: National Geographic Photographers Talk About Their Scariest Moment

The Phoblographer writer Julius Motal asked me a few months back to tell him about a scary moment in the field while working on my National Geographic Young Explorer Grant projects in the Balkans and the Caucasus. I thought there was one important and not so obvious lesson worth sharing from my experiences: “Don’t trust Google Maps in conflict or post-conflict zones as the roads may be mined,” said photojournalist Amanda Rivkin who worked on two projects in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus with National Geographic Young Explorers Grants from the Expeditions Council. Unless the area has been substantially surveyed, it can almost be impossible to know where landmines are. Landmine accidents are an uncomfortably common occurrence, particularly in post-conflict zones. In some places, landmines aren’t discovered until they’ve gone off. In others, they’re well documented like in the Falkland islands where there are cordoned-off no-go zones. Penguins there have, however, capitalized on them because they’re light enough to not set them off. People, however, are not so fortunate. When data or a “Beware Mines” …

Telluride Mountainfilm Wrap-Up + Press

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I was in Telluride, Colorado for the Mountainfilm Festival thanks to the support of National Geographic Expeditions Council and the Young Explorers Grant Program. It was a fantastic weekend spent in the company of some great friends, and when it was over and our presentations complete, we sat down and watched my beloved “politics by another means” Eurovision Song Contest. But once it was really over, the local indy paper, the San Juan Independent, came knocking and sent over some questions for a Q + A. Here are the parts that are relevant generally to photography today: […] Q: As a photographer, how do you believe technology has and will affect the field of photojournalism, if at all? Specifically, we are seeing more advanced cameras and equipment at more affordable prices, including GoPros and camera phones, and more “average Joe’s” being able to capture images and moments they could not years ago. Is this a good thing for photojournalism and photography or does it have a negative impact? A: A …

Telluride MountainFilm Festival 2015 with National Geographic Young Explorers

This weekend I will be in Telluride, Colorado attending the Telluride MountainFilm Festival as a guest of the National Geographic Society (NGS). NGS is a festvial co-sponsor and supporter and has contributed a range of talent and programming to this year’s MountainFilm Festival, including a presentation of photographs by recipients of their Young Explorers Grant. If you are attending Telluride MountainFilm, please join me after 3:30pm Friday May 22 for the Gallery Walk or Sunday afternoon from 12-2pm for presentations by Young Explorers at the Sheridan Opera House. Additionally, Cara Eckholm, who I traveled to Bosnia with in October of last year and with whom I will be presenting on Sunday, will be featured in “Coffee and Conversation” with Ambassador Christopher Hill and Festival Director David Holbrooke (and son of Richard Holbrooke) very early Sunday morning at 8am at the Hotel Telluride.

Postwar Bosnia for National Geographic Young Explorers to Telluride Mountainfilm Festival

Thanks to National Geographic, the work I shot on Bosnia’s postwar reconstruction last October will be shown for the first time at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival in May! The festival director is Richard Holbrooke’s son, David Holbrooke, so now I am indebted to both father and son for what they have done for Bosnia.

Aerial Photographs

The question of aerial photography came up in a meeting today, so I went looking through my archives for a few samples. They are a few years old but from such interesting and/or beautiful places, I felt like sharing them here. Post-script, February 5: Coincidentally, yesterday was all about helicopters. Who hasn’t misremembered that time they flew in a helicopter that wasn’t hit by an RPG? I certainly don’t misremember anything of the sort happening in any of these helicopter journeys. I did refuse a helicopter elsewhere in Slovakia though due to wind conditions and the fact that I detected the smell of slivovitz on the pilot. No picture is worth a life and no lie is worth a lifetime of credibility-building within your field and among the greater public.