WASHINGTON (July 24, 2013)—Photography has been an indispensable tool in National Geographic’s 125-year history of inspiring people to care about the planet. A new exhibition, “Lions & Tigers & Bears: Through the Lens with National Geographic,” opening at the National Geographic Museum on July 25, exemplifies the profound impact of visual storytelling, with stunning images of these three iconic animals. Featuring 50 photos from three of National Geographic’s top wildlife photojournalists — Michael “Nick” Nichols, Steve Winter and Paul Nicklen — the exhibition will be on display at the Museum’s M Street gallery through Feb. 2, 2014.
Lions are universally recognized as symbols of royalty and courage, but there is much more to know and appreciate about these big cats than their regal appearance or position on the food chain. Spending more than two years in the field, Nick Nichols captured images that offer revealing insights into the day-to-day lives of these African predators. Using cutting-edge technology including infrared cameras, a mini-tank robot and micro-copters, Nichols took more than a million photos documenting lions hunting, mating, fighting and, most remarkably, socializing. The photos in the exhibition as well as in the August 2013 National Geographic magazine feature story “The Short Happy Life of the Serengeti Lion” represent the best of Nichols’ two years in the Serengeti. This assignment is the latest in Nichols’ nearly-20-year career with National Geographic. He has spent more than half of his life photographing African animals and has produced 27 stories for National Geographic magazine, including “Orphans No More,” the final chapter of his 20 years documenting the emotions and intelligence of elephants.
The largest of the Asian big cats, tigers are a popular subject of wildlife photography, particularly as they hover on the brink of extinction. The exhibition features some of the most stunning images of these revered animals, captured by award-winning National Geographic photographer and big-cat advocate Steve Winter. Over the last decade, Winter has traveled to India, Sumatra and Thailand to chronicle the lives of tigers. The result is millions of captivating photos of tigers in their natural habitats as they stalk, eat, wade, rest and groom. Winter’s images also capture the threats to tiger survival, including poachers, loggers and nearby human populations that hunt tigers’ prey, leaving them without food. The photos in the exhibition as well as Winter’s upcoming book TIGERS FOREVER: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Big Cats, aim to shed light on these threats and to further conservation efforts. The book will be published on Nov. 12, 2013, by National Geographic Books in partnership with Panthera.
Winter will be part of the fall lineup of the National Geographic Live lecture series at the Society’s Washington, D.C., headquarters on Nov. 15, 2013. Tickets are $20 for members and $22 for the general public and can be purchased at www.nglive.org/dc. Winter’s tiger photography also appeared in a December 2011 National Geographic magazine feature story.
The exhibition’s striking images of different species of bears are by award-winning photojournalist Paul Nicklen. Well known for his photographs of polar bears and other denizens of the Arctic, Nicklen has recently turned his lens on other bears — black, grizzly and the rare spirit bears that were the subject of his August 2011 National Geographic magazine cover story. His photographs of these massive animals display both their strength and their vulnerability. These are not fearsome predators inclined to attack humans; they’re smart, sensitive creatures striving to survive as their habitats disappear. Nicklen has published 11 stories for National Geographic magazine, and his book “Polar Obsession” was published by National Geographic in November 2009. His new book, BEAR: Spirit of the Wild, will be published on Oct. 15, 2013, by National Geographic Books.
Also on display in the Museum’s 17th Street galleries are “A New Age of Exploration: National Geographic at 125,” which will run through July 2014, and “Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship,” open through Sept. 2, 2013. “Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment” will open in the 17th Street galleries on Oct. 10, 2013.
The National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., is open every day (except Dec. 25) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $11 for adults; $9 for National Geographic members, military, students, seniors and groups of 25 or more; $7 for children 5-12; and free for local school, student and youth groups (18 and under; advance reservation required). Tickets may be purchased online at www.ngmuseum.org; via telephone at (202) 857-7700; or in person at the National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th Street, N.W., between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information on group sales, call (202) 857-7281.