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Maggie Steber on Being Reborn Through Photography

“I could die tomorrow, and I would have had the grandest life I could have imagined.” —Maggie Steber

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A Cuban refugee swims in the Atlantic Ocean.

Maggie Steber’s commitment to her work stems from her desire to connect with people and celebrate life.  Steber’s work has taken her to 63 countries and she considers each photograph a gift. “I’m so amazed at how people let you in to their lives and they’re so unguarded and so you have this rather large responsibility to be faithful to them and to respect them,” she said.

Steber has used this responsibility to photograph topics like the African slave trade, the Cherokee Nation, and Miami for National Geographic. She was awarded a Leica Medal of Excellence, a World Press Foundation award and an Alicia Patterson Foundation Grant for Journalistic Exploration of a Subject. —Caitlin Kleiboer, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

View more of Maggie Steber’s work on her Haiti project site, The Audacity of Beauty.

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: Maggie Steber
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editor: Caitlin Kleiboer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM


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