WASHINGTON (Oct. 20, 2003)—A National Geographic photographer shoots tens of thousands of images for a magazine assignment. Only a handful appears in the final article. Those that don’t make the cut are sometimes the photographer’s favorites but are dropped in favor of others that better illustrate the story. Now 100 of the best unpublished photographs, by 49 top photographers, have been selected for National Geographic’s latest special collector’s issue.
“National Geographic’s 100 Best Unpublished Pictures,” on sale from Nov. 1 through Jan. 26, is a selection of amazing images that have never before appeared on the pages of National Geographic magazine. From George Grall’s picture of an expectant male sea-horse giving birth and Mattias Klum’s shot of a king cobra mid-meal in Thailand to David Alan Harvey’s whirling Brazilian Carnival dancers and Emory Kristof’s poignant Vietnam photographs, the special issue showcases images that have special meaning for the people who captured them.
“We asked photographers to go back through their work and find the frames they wish we’d been able to fit into the original article. For them it became a labor of love and a chance to get that favorite picture (or the one that cost them so much time and energy) published behind the yellow border of National Geographic,” writes the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Bill Allen in his introduction to this large-format special issue.
The captions include the story behind each picture, with comments and memories by the photographers. Paul Nicklen, for example, explains how he lay for six hours in the frigid water of a Vancouver river to capture his perfect shot of a sockeye salmon. Kenneth Garrett drove all night to get to a Mexican beach at sunrise just as newly hatched green turtles would be marching out to sea. Tomasz Tomaszewski tells how he spent months trying to earn the trust of Gypsies in Transylvania before he was able to penetrate their closed society and take images of them.
The issue is divided into two sections: “Telling Moments,” focusing on people, and “A Waiting Game,” showcasing wildlife. Each section features short essays by renowned photographers such as David Doubilet, Michael “Nick” Nichols, Emory Kristof, Robert Caputo and Pablo Corral Vega, giving insights into their work and describing experiences behind the camera.
At the special issue’s Web site, nationalgeographic.com/ngm/bestunpublished, visitors can view online-exclusive photo galleries, interviews and multimedia shows with 19 photographers; enter to win a trip for two through several national parks on the American Orient Express; e-greet a friend with a postcard featuring one of the unpublished images; decorate their desktop with selected photos; and match wits with the editor by selecting their favorite cover for the issue.
“National Geographic’s 100 Best Unpublished Pictures” will be available on newsstands, in bookstores and through the magazine’s Web site for $9.95. It is National Geographic’s sixth special collector’s issue and follows “100 Best Photographs,” “Best of America,” “100 Best Wildlife Photographs,” “National Geographic Swimsuits: 100 Years in Pictures” and “Treasures of Egypt.”