Sunday, November 13, 2011

A tribute to an amazing photo editor

The editor of National Geographic has written an appreciation of the magazine's former photo editor about whom he says, "I would not be Editor in Chief of this magazine if I had not worked with him."

Writing in a recent issue, Chris Johns pays handsome tribute to David Arnold who died a few months ago:

Photo editors are the behind-the-scenes heroes of a photographer’s work. The editor sees every single frame and picks up on every mistake and missed opportunity. Then he or she uses everything at hand to correct, coach, and inspire.

David L. Arnold was the best of the best. He was not easy to please, but I trusted his judgment, even when his criticism was tough to hear. When he told me I’d made a memorable photograph, I trusted that too.

Arnold had retired from the magazine in 1994 after 27 years of inspiring photographers. But his spirit, writes Johns, can still be seen and felt:

He was a role model for Kathy Moran, who photo edited this month’s story on the Great Barrier Reef. “I learned from David to be honest with photographers at all cost,” she says. “I learned that to edit a story you need to know the subject thoroughly. David always did his homework. He had a Ph.D. in every story he worked on.”

Read the tribute in its entirety here.
  • Photo courtesy: National Geographic.

In the same issue of the magazine (May 2011), there are some incredible pictures (and a fascinating story) of a new generation of superclimbers. Look at this cover shot:

How did photographer Jimmy Chin manage to capture this extraordinary scene and many more? The biggest challenge of this assignment, writes Chin in the magazine, was in the planning. From figuring out how to get to a spot in the middle of Half Dome and what equipment was needed to get there, to carrying multiple loads of gear to the top of El Capitan, the preparation for one picture often took several days and many hands.

Go behind the scenes with Chin in this video and see what it truly takes to make photographs of people constantly living on the edge.

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