Discovered: National Geographic’s Secret Photography Vault


There is a vault underneath the National Geographic Society in D.C. that houses 11 million images. The existence of the vault was long a semi-open secret within the Society, an overly cluttered basement that the folks upstairs didn’t know quite what to do with. Well, the secret is out, and the vault doors are open. Kind of.

National Geographic will begin selling images through the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City. A show with 150 vintage prints opens on September 17. Most are black and white prints from the early days at NG, but there’s a dizzying variety therein: photos from the Carlsbad Cavers, the Alps, West Virginia miners, and, of course, a New Guinea women in native garb. As Steven Kasher told the New York Times, “I had to have at least one bare-breasted native in the show. Everyone would have been looking for one and wondering if I didn’t.”

Read the article and see a photo gallery of images on the New York Times website>>

A photograph by Herbert G. Ponting of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition ship Terra Nova is framed by an ice grotto in Antarctica circa 1911-1912.

Photo: Herbert G. Ponting/National Geographic Society and Steven Kasher Gallery

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