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Pictures We Love: Taking a Closer Look

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A megaphone-brandishing census taker hails occupants of the Deer Island lighthouse in Boston, Massachusetts.

At National Geographic, photography is what holds our stories together and what makes them shine. It’s what we do the best and love the most. Our photo editors work with thousands of images every year (if not every day) and so we asked each of them—editors from National Geographic MagazineNational Geographic Magazine, News, Traveler, Your Shot, and Proof—to share one picture that stood out for them in 2014. We didn’t ask them to talk about the “best” photo, but the one that resonated with them the most. Over the coming days, we’ll bring you their personal reflections and share the heart of what we’ve been up to this year.

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A megaphone-brandishing census taker hails occupants of the Deer Island lighthouse in Boston, Massachusetts. “In the Loupe,” October 2014 Photograph by UPI/National Geographic Creative

Four months ago, before I started working at National Geographic, I would have picked a different photograph as my favorite from the past year. But now that I know the process behind each image, feature, and section, I selected this archival picture from “In the Loupe,” which appeared in the October issue of the magazine.

One of my favorite parts of my job is spending an hour each week in the National Geographic archive with Bill Bonner. Bill Bonner is the Society’s archivist, who for thirty-two years has been preserving, organizing, and archiving photographs from National Geographic’s one hundred and twenty-six year history. In his daily research, Bill studies these photographs, holding a loupe up to inspect each image. Despite their age, many of these images are still incredibly sharp. Sharp enough, it turns out, to hold hidden details, invisible to the naked eye, but revealed by the loupe. What a beautiful surprise–to look at a photograph, see it one way, and then to look closer and reveal hidden images that expose a deeper meaning.

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With the help of a magnifying loupe, this detail of a man listening to the census taker through a megaphone is revealed. Photograph by UPI/National Geographic Creative

These photographs are treasures, a visual history that National Geographic photographers continue to build on with each story and frame. One hundred years from now, I hope we will look with the same studious interest at the images we are currently producing, with close enough care to help us understand a world that existed decades before we were born and miles from where we lived.

Browse more of our favorite images from 2014 in these related “Pictures We Love” posts:

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