WASHINGTON (Aug. 12, 2009)—For the first time National Geographic is opening its 11.5 million-image archive to offer a limited series of original photographs and illustrations for purchase by public and private collections through Steven Kasher Gallery, New York. Steven Kasher has signed on as National Geographic’s representative in the fine art market and as exclusive partner for four exhibitions of selected prints from the Society’s Image Collection, beginning with “The World in Black and White: Vintage Prints from the National Geographic Archive,” Sept. 17, 2009, through Oct. 17, 2009.
All works offered for purchase will be unique vintage photographic prints, original illustrations and photographic prints taken directly from the negative; National Geographic will retain digital and publication rights for future use.
The National Geographic Image Collection houses original photographs and illustrations from some of the world’s most renowned photographers and artists, among them Maynard Owen Williams, Volkmar Wentzel, Luis Marden, Sam Abell, Steve McCurry, N.C. Wyeth, Alexandre Iacovleff, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Roy H. Andersen, Tom Lovell and Thornton Oakley.
Based at National Geographic’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, the extensive archive dates from the Society’s founding in 1888 to the present. The collection is one of the few repositories that documents the late 19th century through the beginnings of the 21st century, specializing in social documentation of the world and its inhabitants, with a special emphasis on people, cultures, natural history, the environment, science and the natural world.
Housing images seen in National Geographic magazine as well as outtakes never before published, the collection features images in a variety of formats, from vintage glass-plate negatives, Kodachrome transparencies, 35mm negatives, panoramic and small-format prints to digital files. The Image Collection holds one of the foremost collections of Autochromes, dating from their invention to the end of their production in the 1930s. Among this collection are 40 identified Autochromes from Paul G. Guillumette, a pioneer in the use of early color photography, and the first underwater Autochromes by National Geographic chief photographer Charles Martin, one-time head of National Geographic’s first photography lab.
The collection also features groundbreaking works from such landmark photographers as Marden, whose revolutionary underwater photography techniques, first employed while documenting Jacques Cousteau’s expedition on board the Calypso, are still being used in the field today; and Wentzel, who helped illuminate the world’s knowledge of India and Nepal at a time when those countries remained a mystery to most of the rest of the world.
In addition to vintage prints, the collection also includes the photojournalistic works of such contemporary photographers as Brian Skerry, Annie Griffiths Belt, Jodi Cobb, David Alan Harvey and Michael Nichols, whose coverage runs the gamut from African wildlife and the oceans to women’s issues and countries in transition.
“National Geographic’s Image Collection is a rich, invaluable resource of social documentation of the globe from the Society’s founding in 1888 to our world today,” said Maura Mulvihill, vice president and director of the Image Collection for National Geographic Society. “Our decision to release a select number of these photographs is motivated by our underlying hope to share this incredible resource with the public and create a new avenue toward reaching fresh audiences.”
The first exhibition at Steven Kasher Gallery will display 150 unique black-and-white prints from more than a dozen photographers, spanning the earliest days of the Society through the 1940s. Included will be works from the Alexander Graham Bell collection (tetrahedral flight experiments, ca. 1900), Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden (Sicily, ca. 1905), Herbert Ponting (Antarctica, 1906), George Tairraz (Alpine panoramas, 1890s), Maynard Owen Willams and B. Anthony Stewart (West Virginia, 1938) and others. Each photographer will be represented by a “story” comprising 10 to 15 pictures.
The four exhibitions will be curated by Steven Kasher, with input from National Geographic. For more information on Steven Kasher Gallery, visit stevenkasher.com.
Images of photographs and prints that will be available for purchase and on exhibit are on the ftp site: http://ftp.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/image_collection_kasher
username: press | password: press
About the National Geographic Image Collection
The National Geographic Image Collection based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., houses more than 11.5 million images from National Geographic staff and freelance photographers, including rare and never-before-seen photographs and illustrations. Specializing in the subjects of people, cultures, natural history, science, the environment and the natural world, the Image Collection is one of the foremost repositories of social documentation of the late 19th century through the 21st century. For information on image sales, call (800) 434-2244, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ngsimages.com.
About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 370 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.