David Guttenfelder

National Geographic Photography Fellow David Guttenfelder is an award-winning photojournalist focusing on global geopolitics and conservation. After college, he left his native Iowa and spent the next 20 years living, working, and winning photojournalism awards (including eight World Press Photo Awards) around the globe.

He spent 20 years as a photojournalist for the Associated Press, during which he was based in cities as varied as Nairobi, New Delhi, and Tokyo. In 2011 he helped AP open a bureau in North Korea, the first Western news agency to have an office in the notoriously isolated country. In all, Guttenfelder has made more than 40 trips to North Korea.

His first story for National Geographic magazine, “Afghanistan's Opium Wars,” was published in 2011. Many more have followed, including topics as diverse as migratory songbirds in North Africa, Japan's Fukushima nuclear refugees, and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. In 2016, David traveled to Tanzania to photograph portraits of Jane Goodall for National Geographic's documentary JANE, which was released in 2017.

Pull Quote
You have to have something to say. Photography comes later.

Guttenfelder’s awards include the World Press Photo Award and Pictures of the Year International. He is also a seven-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news and feature photography. In 2016, a photograph of his taken in North Korea was named among TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential Photographs Ever Taken.”

His photography has been widely exhibited, including at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. Additionally, David has been an industry leader in smartphone photography and social media. He taught the first National Geographic Explorer's Smartphone Photography workshop in San Francisco in 2015. He was named TIME magazine’s first Instagram photographer of the year in 2013. His personal Instagram account reaches more than 1.1 million followers.

Guttenfelder is active in the National Geographic Photo Camp as a teacher and workshop leader. The program uses photography to help young adults and children in underserved communities around the world develop their own voices and tell their stories.

When not travelling the world in search of stories, he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Find out about upcoming programs and expeditions with National Geographic photographers, view more work, or purchase a print by David Guttenfelder.