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By Whitney Johnson, Director of Visual and Immersive Experiences
Photographers like it better behind the camera.
This week, however, Nat Geo’s Nichole Sobecki stood in front of the camera, before Africa’s mighty Victoria Falls, before an audience of millions on ABC’s Good Morning America (below left, with ABC chief meteorologist Ginger Zee).
The Nairobi-based photographer, whose images connect Africa with the developed world, kicked off a series with GMA and Nat Geo of 20 stunning places around the world—and how to save them. When asked by Robin Roberts about what she will take away from this majestic site, Sobecki, with the roar of the falls behind her, answered:
Standing here, before the amazing, awesome power of the falls, it’s so clear to me the intimate ties between ourselves and the natural world, between Africa and the rest of the globe.” In the segment, Sobecki told GMA about the effects of a regional drought on the Zambezi River: “Wildlife is really, really struggling. This waterfall is really a way of purifying the source and sustaining the lives of those who live along its banks.”
Sobecki talked about the changes in climate that affect the falls—and noted the outsized role the United States and China have in that. Africa’s 54 nations, she noted, are responsible for only 4 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.
In stepping out from behind the camera, Sobecki showed the knowledge that photographers in the field can provide. We’ll be covering the 20 stunning places to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, with photographs—and photographers. (By the way, here is Sobecki’s work covering Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and visiting a controversial lion farm in South Africa.)
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Your Instagram photo of the day
The daily catch: A girl stands next to freshly caught sheefish on the frozen Kotzebue Sound in northwest Alaska. While she may have had some help hooking this large local species of fish, she will most likely be catching them on her own soon. Permafrost thaw and coastal erosion are challenging residents' traditional subsistence hunting practices in the face of climate change. “Hunting, fishing, and foraging for food are not only crucial as the main food sources for Inupiat communities in the Alaskan Arctic,” says photographer Katie Orlinsky, “they are the backbone of cultural, spiritual, and everyday life—and important rites of passage for children like this girl.”
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Today in a minute
The past isn’t past: That’s a theme of the photography of Dawoud Bey, the subject of a career retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that opened last weekend. Bey has said he has had an abiding interest “in wanting to describe the Black subject in a way that’s as complex as the experiences of anyone else. It’s meant to kind of reshape the world one person at a time.”
Last call: Privacy and drones. Hong Kong protests. Young motherhood. These are the topics of 10 millennial photographers featured in Framing Identity: The Photographic Gaze of Generation Y, an exhibition at Museum für Photographie in Braunschweig, Germany. Closing Monday.
We asked, you delivered: Readers of last week’s Photography newsletter deluged us with their favorites among National Geographic images chosen by the editors. Many liked Chris Johns’ image of a South African lion marching against a headwind. “A superb portrayal of grace and power,” reader Rita Chanda wrote. Added Lene Larsen: “Even though the flamingo photo is very beautiful, it is the lion that touched my heart.” Nearly as many liked the dramatic Nick Nichols photo, shot on the run, of a charging elephant in the Central African Republic.
The big takeaway
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Come back Monday for Debra Adams Simmons on the latest in history. If you’re not a subscriber, sign up here to also get Victoria Jaggard on science, George Stone on travel, and Rachael Bale on animal and wildlife news.
One last glimpse
On the outside: In the early 2000s, William Albert Allard documented the lowest branch of the Indian castes system known as Dalit, previously known by the term (now considered offensive) Untouchables. This is a whole group of people denied access to temples and wells, and people often move to cities (or abroad) to escape village prejudices. “Shot through a window, this photo reflects that outsider feeling, as a busy market bustles around the viewer who is on the outside looking in,” says Sara Manco, our senior photo archivist. This image was taken in Mumbai and published in National Geographic magazine in June 2003.
Related: Dalit Americans make a pilgrimage to a New Jersey avenue named for a civil rights hero
Correction: In last week’s newsletter, we misspelled the last name of Herbert Ponting, the pioneering Antarctic photographer. While we’re here, since readers asked, Ponting, in addition to taking still photos, made crude motion images of the 1910-13 Antarctic Expedition with two early movie cameras, the Prestwich Model 5 Kinema Camera and a Newman Sinclair, according to Britain’s National Science and Media Museum.
This newsletter has been curated and edited by David Beard, and Eslah Attar selected the photographs. Have an idea or a link? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks for reading!