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Photographer Series Shows Amazing Photographs as It Depicts Photographers' Lives
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Sunday, March 10, 2024
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

As a previously unknown field of sea grass waves around them, photographers Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen stand their ground at the bottom of the ocean in the Bahamas photographing sharks and whatever other aquatic species come their way.

A few minutes later they film a dolphin burrowing its snout in the bottom of the ocean, as if it were drilling a crater. It is, said Mittermeier, the only drilling that should be done in the ocean, contrasting that with a nearby oil drig deemed to be releasing toxic oil into the ecosystem.

The only way you can change the world is with stories, reflects Mittermeier, who has become a photographer activist. "Our hope is to take this boat around the world to tell stories that need to be told," she adds.

Mittermeier and Nicklen are two of seven photographers that are spotlighted in National Geographic's new series "Photographer." Audiences at this week's Sun Valley Film Festival got a sneak preview of two of the episodes.

For the rest of the world, it will premiere March 18 on National Geographic, available to stream on March 19 at Disney+ and Hulu.

"Photographer" was designed by Oscar, Bafta  and Emmy Award-winning filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, who filmed "Free Solo," about Alex Honnold's climb at Yosemite, and "The Rescue," about the rescue of a boys' soccer team when they were stranded in a cave in Thailand. They also worked on "Nyad," about Diana Nyad's swim from the United States to Cuba and are currently working on "Endurance" about a ship from the Shackleton expedition.

"Photographer" is not as compelling as the series National Geographic premiered at the 2023 Sun Valley Film Festival about Miep Gies, who helped hide Anne Frank and her family, or "Secrets of the Elephants." Most notably, it could stand to show a lot more of the stills that featured photographers took that made them stand-outs.

But the episodes are worth watching for the photographs that are included, the secrets the photographers share and the additional information gleaned, such as the effects of drilling in the Bahamas.

Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen are two of the world's best known ocean photographers. But the series depicts how Nicklen grew up--not on the beach--but with the Inuit in the Canadian Arctic. He worked as a biologist in the Northwest Territories before becoming a photographer. And, though he continues to hold a deep love for Arctic areas, you're now apt to find him diving into sunny warm oceans like those in the Bahamas, his arms wrapped around a heavy, bulky camera.

Mittermeier was born at polar opposites in Mexico City. She embarked on a career as a marine biologist before turning to cameras, hoping she could reach a larger audience about the problems she saw occurring in the world.

As with Mittermeier and Nicklen, the series does a deep dive into the thinking that  goes in behind the images photographers take, in addition to exploring the path that led them to be some of the world's iconic photographers.

Anand Varma is working on a series about metamorphosis as he captures the developmental process of a chicen embryo.

Dan Winters has photographed such disparate subjects as NASA, Iceland and Bangladesh

Campbell Addy just shot Meghan Markle for New York Mag as part of his image-making  photographs in the fashion world

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Middle Eastern photographer Muhammad Muheisen once journeyed to the frontlines of conflicts around the world. He now uses photography in support of Everyday Refugees, which builds schools, provides supplies and teachers skills to refugees.

Australian native Krystle Wright spent a decade shooting extreme sports stunts on all seven continents, including a wingsuit flying expedition in the Artic that resulted in a death. Her episode shows that expedition, as well as her current journey chasing tornadoes, lightning strikes and dust storms in Texas, in addition to trying to capture the perfect climbing shot by the light of a full moon in Moab, Utah.

"The sky comes to life like a twisting animal," she says as she watches an angry sky churn its way across the Texas plains.

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