Born in Conway, North Carolina, Medford Taylor attended High Point University in his home state, graduating with a bachelor of science degree. After completing five years as a naval officer, he continued his education in graduate school at the University of Missouri, majoring in photojournalism.
Following his schooling, Taylor became a staff photographer for the Houston Chronicle and subsequently the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk. While based in Washington, D.C., he freelanced for Time and Newsweek.
Taylor has been a freelance photographer for the National Geographic Society since 1984. His assignments for National Geographic Traveler magazine have included stories on the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Newfoundland, the Everglades, and Big Bend National Park. He has also contributed to National Geographic magazine articles on the Australian outback, Lake Superior, and the Madeira Islands, among others. His photos also appear in several National Geographic books.
Taylor has won numerous awards from the Virginia News Photographers Association and the White House News Photographers Association. His work has been published in international and national magazines such as French and German GEO and Air and Space. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.