A longtime contributor to National Geographic magazine, Gerd Ludwig has covered subjects ranging from the reunification of Germany and changes in the former Soviet Union to the Grimm Brothers and the Salton Sea.
Born in Alsfeld, Germany, in 1947, Ludwig initially studied German literature, political science, and physical education at the University of Marburg, but interrupted his studies to travel in Scandinavia and North America while supporting himself with jobs as a bricklayer, sailor, gardener, and dishwasher.
Ludwig later returned to Germany and studied photography for five years with Otto Steinert at the Folkwangschule in Essen, graduating in 1972 with a degree in photo design from the University of Essen. He co-founded VISUM, Germany's first photographer-owned photo agency, the following year. In 1975, he moved to Hamburg and began working for GEO, Stern, Spiegel, Zeit-Magazin, Time, and Life, as well as photographing advertising campaigns.
Ludwig relocated to New York in 1984 and continued to photograph for major international publications. In the early 1990s, he signed on as a contract photographer for National Geographic magazine, focusing on the social changes in Germany and Eastern Europe. This work resulted in the publication of a book, Broken Empire: After the Fall of the U.S.S.R., a ten-year retrospective published by National Geographic.
Ludwig is a veteran of the renowned A Day in the Life book series and has won numerous photographic awards, including the 2006 Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year.
Now based in Los Angeles, Ludwig continues to lecture at universities and photographic workshops throughout the world.