The @natgeo Instagram account is unfiltered and genuine. The 135 contributing photographers have shared nearly 20,000 photographs, each post detailing a stunning and intimate moment from their travels. Each image on this page received over 750,000 engagements (likes plus comments), offering a glimpse of what type of photographs and stories resonate around the world. From massive storms to curious animals, these are the stories that connect us.
Storytelling has evolved since the first National Geographic issue was published more than 130 years ago. Initially, a photograph’s journey from camera to subscriber was long, with photographers rarely receiving feedback from readers. Now, with Instagram, photographers can share their work directly with readers. Feedback is immediate and passionate.
In the last four years, photographs on the account have received more than four billion likes and 20 million comments. Posts like Vincent Musi’s photograph of dog and human footprints in the sand has nearly one million likes and more than 3,000 comments full of personal stories. “I love the connection you can make to your audience. That’s what’s special about it. You feel like you’re part of the conversation instead of the only one talking,” says Musi.
The Human-Animal Bond
Genuine connections between man and nature
Wildlife ranger Joseph Wachira, 26, comforts Sudan, the last living male northern white rhino on the planet, moments before he passed away in March 2018.
From llamas and dogs to panda bears, we depend on animals as much as they depend on us. We share this planet and its resources. Sometimes our greed and ignorance drives species to extinction, but in every instance, individuals step in to protect those unable to speak for themselves.
Humans aren't the only ones with inquiring minds
Mr. Blue has lived most of his life within the borders of Yellowstone National Park. One of the most amazing aspects of Mr. Blue’s character is that he seems to have an ability to mingle his way into existing wolf packs.
Humans are odd creatures, especially National Geographic photographers. It’s no wonder that animals in remote corners of the world stop to investigate our photographers and their cameras. From clown fish to polar bears, it almost looks like they’ve come to say hello.
Moments when our world and the heavens collide
Despite clouds, the lunar eclipse of a super blue blood moon still managed to peek out over Colorado’s Mount Meeker and Long’s Peak.
The heavens have long mystified and moved us. The Milky Way, eclipses, and double rainbows remind us of forces much larger than ourselves.
The risk behind every discovery
Alex Honnold and Felipe Camargo return to Earth after two weeks of cleaning off handholds, figuring out moves, and finally climbing one of the longest, most difficult overhang routes in China.
Remarkable accomplishments and discoveries often necessitate risk. Facing and accepting these challenges propel us forward, while humbling us—reminding us how small, yet courageous humans can be.
At Sea Level
The unknown world under the waves
The locals call him Niño, which in Spanish means “boy.” “At eight or nine feet long, this croc doesn't lack confidence,” photographer Paul Nicklen writes. “He gently reminded me to back off by opening his mouth when I got too close.”
More than 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water and humans have only explored a fraction of it. With waterproof cameras, National Geographic photographers have figured out how to merge our world with the mysterious one below.
The Human Experience
The challenge and joy of embracing life
Katie Stubblefield sits alone, taking a moment for herself in the Cleveland Clinic’s intensive care unit, her face still swollen and stitches remaining three weeks after her 31-hour face transplant surgery.
Some threads of the human experience are universal: the preciousness of a newborn; the difficult journey of healing; and the pangs of a heart in love. Photographs of individuals making their way through life resonate across cultures as we brave this world together.
Photographers at Work
Traversing the world to capture the photograph
Paul Nicklen photographs a Kermode bear, also known as a spirit bear, under the direction of Gitga'a First Nation guides. He says they nicknamed him “Friendly Bear” because he was so unperturbed by their presence.
National Geographic photographers seek out apex predators, scale cliffs, and endure the unforgiving arctic cold to capture the perfect photograph. Occasionally, followers get a glimpse of their high jinks and what it looks like to chase stories around the world.