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National Geographic's 125th anniversary celebrations continue

By dpreview staff on Sep 30, 2013 at 17:27 GMT

As part of the continuing celebration of its 125th anniversary, National Geographic once again features Steve McCurry's famous 'Afghan Girl' photograph on the cover of October's 'The Photography Issue'. Along with the new issue, National Geographic has launched some supporting content associated with the issue, as well as a new blog called Proof, offering 'new avenues for our audience to get a behind-the-scenes look at the National Geographic storytelling process.' 

The cover of the October 2013 issue shows a cropped version of Steve McCurry's famous photograph of a young Afghan girl, Sharbat Gula, which first ran in the June 1985 issue.

Though launched in 1888 as an extension of the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Magazine wasn't initially known for its photography. Starting in 1905, the magazine started adding more photographs, which became a critical part of their storytelling style.

The just-launched blog Proof features interesting studies of ongoing and past projects from photographers and journalists, some of which may not appear in publication, but are interesting in their own right. The goal, according to Keith Jenkins, Director of Photography, being 'to tell meaningful stories in unforgettable ways.'

Shown being washed by his uncle, Yusufu Shabani Difika was attacked by a lion while farming near the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, an attack that cost him his arms. This image is featured in an interview with Nick Nichols and Brent Stirton on National Geographic's 'Proof' blog.

'The Photography Issue' of National Geographic can be found on newstands now, and a digital version is also available.

Comments

Total comments: 30
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (6 months ago)

I am visiting Singapore and their art/science museum has a NG special exhibit of 50 best photos. The original image of Ms Gula and her image taken 17 years later are presented in a darkened galley all to themselves... the effect is absolutely stunning and heartbreaking considering the context of the image and the treatment of women by this faction of Islam. I will post an image of this part of the exhibit in Forum/Open Talk. When I first saw the cover in 1985 I fell in love with the raw, simple beauty of the young girl. When discovered later, all that the Taliban had done to Afghanistan was mirrored in her face. I left with a lump in my throat and a pain in my heart. BTW: the photog knew in an instant it was the girl. The photo sparked an immense amount of donations to refugee relief in the region. That should be enough compensation. Twits who think that news images should be considered the same as fashion photos are way off base.

1 upvote
bluehighwayman
By bluehighwayman (6 months ago)

'Twits' Let's see you take an American Child's image use it to sell millions of magazines all without parental consent even in the name of news. I guarantee your legal costs would most likely bankrupt your life even if you won the case. Of course those third world children and families don't have the same legal rights in your eyes! Sharbat Gula's (my mistake in her name below) image is way beyond a simple news photo and National Geographic has used it repeatedly to sell magazines. When this photo was taken it was the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan that was highlighted. It is ironic that it may even have accelerated the CIA's program to arm and train groups that were opposing the Soviets. Groups like those headed by Bin Laden! Ah the unintended consequences of our good will.

Comment edited 15 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
bluehighwayman
By bluehighwayman (6 months ago)

For those who are misinformed:

The 'Afghan Girl' was photographed in a refugee camp in Pakistan in 1984. In a 'Life Revealed' in 2002 Alum Bibi (the girl's name) said she remembered the moment and remembered her anger at being photographed. She received nothing for the photo or any help from National Geographic or McCurry during her life, she was found 17 years later (Mr Intimbuktu you are wrong). National Geographic established a fund to assist in the development and delivery of educational opportunities for young Afghan women and girls years later. The young Alum Bibi (the Afghan Girl) received nothing when she was as famous as any Ford model or Miss America contestant. McCurry became famous worldwide.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
bluehighwayman
By bluehighwayman (6 months ago)

The Afghan Girl any American Model would have millions from royalties for a portrait used as much as this photo. It really makes me uncomfortable to know she didn't get a thing when it would have made a difference in her life. Then McCurry went searching for her some twenty years later I guess he had an attack of guilt.

3 upvotes
Intimbuktu
By Intimbuktu (6 months ago)

Dear bluehighwayman, you are misinformed regarding "The Afghan Girl". National Geographic has done quite a bit to help her over the years. There was even a special on finding her after many years. Her life is better because of her image.

1 upvote
sh10453
By sh10453 (6 months ago)

I too have always felt the same way.
I'm hoping that a magazine, or an organization, as reputable as NG would not leave her without rewarding her generously, but not just give her a couple of two tiny payments separated by 20 years!
Let's hear some more about her from NG.

0 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (6 months ago)

bluehighwayman. I'm sure it's a tough position in journalism to tell a story without interference -especially in times of turmoil or confronted with risk. But that's what good journalism is about: bringing awareness in hopes that others whom are better equipped to help, will rise up and do so.

These folks expend lots of time, effort and money, some putting themselves at risk, just to get that one shot. So that every shot is testimony to a herculean effort that led up to it.

I grew up reading these magazines and that inspired me to travel (although I wound up joining the Navy and going to the photo shool in Pensacola to get there). I've seen things and been to places to know that it's not a walk in the park for what some of these guys do. I'm still inspired.

2 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (6 months ago)

"The identity of the Afghan Girl remained unknown for over 17 years; Afghanistan remained largely closed to Western media until after the removal of the Taliban government by American troops and local allies in 2001. Although McCurry made several attempts during the 1990s to locate her, he was unsuccessful.

2 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (6 months ago)

In January 2002, a National Geographic team traveled to Afghanistan to locate the subject of the now-famous photograph. McCurry, upon learning that the Nasir Bagh refugee camp was soon to close, inquired of its remaining residents, one of whom knew Gula's brother and was able to send word to her hometown. However, there were a number of women who came forward and identified themselves erroneously as the famous Afghan Girl. In addition, after being shown the 1984 photo, a handful of young men falsely claimed Gula as their wife.

1 upvote
cgarrard
By cgarrard (6 months ago)

The team finally located Gula, then around the age of 30, in a remote region of Afghanistan; she had returned to her native country from the refugee camp in 1992. Her identity was confirmed by John Daugman using iris recognition.[8] She vividly recalled being photographed. She had been photographed on only three occasions: in 1984 and during the search for her when a National Geographic producer took the identifying pictures that led to the reunion with Steve McCurry. She had never seen her famous portrait before it was shown to her in January 2002. "

2 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (6 months ago)

You're an idiot. Sorry. I don't like to stoop, but man you have no clue what you are talking about at all. The internet really sucks sometimes.

It took me less than 15 seconds to find this information on the net. I happened to know what Steve has done before hand, but wanted to post it to show you just how much you DON'T know what your talking about.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Neloy Sinha
By Neloy Sinha (6 months ago)

Photograph is the core of the magazine. Each photo tells a story. A good photographer is a story teller too. He shares his visual experiences. We feel proud thst National Geographic had done its role with utmost dedication and sincerity. This issue or any other NG maintains its standard to logical and scientific minds of the world and supplies continuous unlimited fodder to them.

2 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (6 months ago)

"meaningful stories..." That's what NG is all about. It's not that you or anyone else could shoot same or better quality. It's because you or I wasn't "there" to take "that" shot. Sometimes a walk in the park with $7000 worth of gear is still about the walking in the park.

9 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (7 months ago)

Amateurs criticizing NG photographers. Heh, that's a hoot. Armchair quarterbacks.

I bought the issue as soon as I saw it at the news stands. Sure to be a classic.

10 upvotes
mckracken88
By mckracken88 (7 months ago)

if amateur means having a sky that doesnt look like a shot taken 30m underwater, then ill gladly call myself an amateur.

0 upvotes
Kevin Chao
By Kevin Chao (6 months ago)

it's what one would refer to as #backseatdrivers

1 upvote
InTheMist
By InTheMist (6 months ago)

@mckraken88
Gallery Stats - Photos Uploaded 0

5 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (6 months ago)

Right. There should be a color named "envy green" :)

1 upvote
InTheMist
By InTheMist (6 months ago)

@Kevin Chao I know it's not international, but Armchair Quarterback is more fitting here because it allows the following conditions:
1) never having done it yourself
2) never needing to leave your chair
3) the ability to criticize even years after the event

;)

1 upvote
Bigloaf
By Bigloaf (7 months ago)

AND I am disappointed that to view pictures on their website you now HAVE to be logged in

seems a tad unnecessary

0 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (6 months ago)

I agree, it is a bit nonsense to have to logg on all the time one visits the site now. But I strongly recommend the digital version on you Ipad or computer.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (7 months ago)

I am having nightmares every time I see "the famous Afghan girl" Once more and I am dead....

3 upvotes
mckracken88
By mckracken88 (7 months ago)

gah, no more AFGHAN GIRL. She's startled enough..from that camera shoved in her face ;)

also: most National Geographic pictures look kinda funny-surreal, what with their overuse of contrast and candy colors.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (6 months ago)

I just saw the traveling photo exhibit organized by Amnistie International on under aged brides in countries like Yemen, Afghanistan, and others. It is such a human cruelty caused to children. Just the memory of those images causes me nausea. Find out on their web site when the exhibit will be shown in your country and do not miss the opportunity to see it.
Here is the link: http://tooyoungtowed.org

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
DesmondD
By DesmondD (6 months ago)

I'm pretty happy that one of my images was posted. http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m300/dvdowns/high%20speed/zpop1011.jpg According to some people though it's not in all the copies?

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (6 months ago)

@DesmondD Unfortunately, it's not in my copy (Germany).

P.S. Loved your book "Understanding Explosure".

1 upvote
DesmondD
By DesmondD (6 months ago)

Thanks :) I wonder what happened that it is in some copies but not other? maybe they did several issues to vary the images.
The explosure book isn't selling as well as the other one :) http://www.amazon.com/Explosive-Photography-ebook/dp/B00CDW3VN6

1 upvote
InTheMist
By InTheMist (6 months ago)

That's probably a better name. Googling "Understanding Explosure" prompts Google to autocorrect it to 'exposure'.

Good luck! I'm gonna tweet that link.

0 upvotes
DesmondD
By DesmondD (6 months ago)

I also get the auto-correct when I google it :( My general photography ebook sells about 60 a month http://www.amazon.com/Photography-Masterclass-ebook/dp/B00BT86ZME

0 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (6 months ago)

Great body of work. This particular photo, I thought it was a flower. Very nice.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 30