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National Geographic editor on choosing images


I found the conversation between National Geographic magazine senior photo editor Elizabeth Krist and Kathryn Keane, National Geographic’s vice president of exhibitions interesting and wanted to share it with you, especially about how the final images are selected for publication.


The movie above shows some the images selected and we hear from the photographers themselves.

"One of my questions for Elizabeth would be about the editing process. In any given assignment you can get thousands and thousands and thousands of photographs, and only a few appear or are selected to illustrate a story. I don’t think people understand how difficult that is. How does that work?" asks Kathryn Keane, during a conversation recorded on October 4, 2013.

Elizabeth Krist answers, "By the time we actually start looking at pictures, we’re so immersed in the story that we have a deep understanding of the research and the themes that we have to convey to the readers. So that by the time I start looking at all the images—you know, just flashing across my computer screen—my brain is going to a much more subliminal level.

"I’m just looking for the perfect convergence of light and composition more than anything, because I trust that the photographer has already honed the subjects by what she’s shot. And then I just go through and pull whatever speaks to me at a really deep, visceral level. Then I go through on a second round and get that down more by the actual content and the storytelling and what is really required to construct a visual narrative for a reader who might not know anything about the story.

"So for every picture, I’m looking for a convergence of information, some sort of revelation, something I didn’t know. The other element that the picture has to hit is some kind of visual impact—something that’s so striking, whether it is the light or the composition—something that’s really graphic that just hits me so hard at a gut level that it jumps out."

I think that sums it up very well indeed because it is the way we photographers should be thinking; the light, the composition, impact and of course the story we're telling.

Women of Vision is a landmark project, part of National Geographic's 125 year celebrations.

Till soon,
Paul
www.indigo2photography.co.uk

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