Photojournalist and educator Steve Raymer, a National Geographic magazine staff photographer for more than two decades, teaches visual journalism, media ethics, and international news gathering at Indiana University in Bloomington. He is a tenured professor of journalism, as well as an adjunct faculty member of the university's India Studies and Russian and East European Studies programs.
Raymer earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and studied Soviet and Russian affairs at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow. After service as a lieutenant in the United States Army, he joined the staff of National Geographic in 1972, launching a career that has taken him to more than 85 countries. From famines in Bangladesh and Ethiopia to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Raymer's photographs have illustrated 29 National Geographic articles and numerous National Geographic Society books.
Among his notable National Geographic reportage are stories about the global hunger crisis (1975), the construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline (1976), the worldwide illegal trade in endangered animals (1981), Afghanistan's capital of Kabul under Soviet occupation (1985), the humanitarian work of the International Committee of the Red Cross in more than a dozen war zones (1986), the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (1987), and the tumultuous birth of a new and independent Russia (1990, 1991, 1993).
From 1989 to 1995, Raymer served as director of the National Geographic Society News Service, establishing joint ventures with The New York Times, the Associated Press, and National Public Radio. In addition to managing a staff of 20 writers and editors, Raymer continued to report for National Geographic and the National Geographic News Service from Russia, the first Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), and Vietnam as it opened to Western trade and tourism.
A writer as well as image maker, Raymer is author and photographer of Images of a Journey: India in Diaspora, published by Indiana University Press in 2007; Living Faith: Inside the Muslim World of Southeast Asia, published by Asian Images Group of Singapore in 2001; and St. Petersburg, a 1994 illustrated book by Turner Publishing/CNN about the imperial Russian capital. He also is photographer of Land of the Ascending Dragon: Rediscovering Vietnam, published in 1997 by Gates & Bridges of Norwalk, Connecticut.
Raymer has traveled widely in South Asia as a photographer, author, and lecturer, making his first of nearly two dozen trips to the Indian subcontinent in 1974. His article "New Delhi: Mirror of India" was published in the April 1985 edition of National Geographic, while a profile of the high technology city of Bangalore served as an epilogue for Raymer's 2007 book on the global Indian diaspora. He is currently working on a new photographic book titled From Calcutta to Kolkata, a portrait of India's second largest city and former imperial capital.
In 1976, the National Press Photographers Association and the University of Missouri named Raymer "Magazine Photographer of the Year"—one of photojournalism's most coveted awards—for his reporting of the global hunger crisis. He received a citation for excellence in foreign reporting requiring exceptional enterprise from the Overseas Press Club of America in 1981 for his work on the worldwide trade in endangered animals and products from endangered animals. Raymer also won numerous first-place awards from the White House News Photographers Association between 1975 and 1995. In 1999-2000, Raymer received a Fulbright Research Fellowship, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, to support his work among the Muslim populations of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, Asia Society, and the Overseas Press Club of America, Raymer has lectured on photojournalism, the global news media, war correspondence, and media ethics in the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Poland, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. He also has appeared on the Today Show, BBC radio and television, and Voice of America, and as a panelist and lecturer on war correspondence at the Freedom Forum's Newseum in Washington, D.C.