What I see

David Griffin

David Griffin is the photo director for National Geographic.

He learned journalism at Ohio university and he worked for several news papers. Then he served as an editors for them.

In this video, he talks how photography connects us and what photography can do.

He also talks the strength of photography as what captures moments and how to tell the stories by showing the images of world’s greatest photographers.

He has been this industory more than 30 years so he seems that he has seen everything. When I looked at his blog on National Geographic website, he was talking how photography and professionals were changed by transition from film to digital then how hard you have to work to be a professional and how they will survive.

Nowadys, everyone can have a pretty great camera and gears so they got magnificent image at least one. But professionals have to come back with good images all the time.

And a magagine like National Geographic, you have to be not only a hardwoker, but also be a good story teller. Because what they need is not just single great image. What they do is trying to tell what is happening in this planet to make people understand that and give a possibility. Therefore,  images have to be aesthetically pleasing and compelling, shouldn’t be superficial.  Let’s take a look how they make a story.

It comes from David Griffin’s interview.

1. Story proposal is accepted by editor (this can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on how much back and forth we have with the photographer honing their proposal). BTW, all proposals from photographers go through me first to determine if the idea is something I’m confident the photographer can pull off. We have a firewall to protect the photographer’s intellectual property if they are rejected.

2. Once accepted, the photographer is paired up with a photo editor and they work together to expand the proposal into a story coverage plan, including estimated budget. This is then reviewed in what is called a “story pitch” where the entire story team (photog, photo editor, writer, text editor, graphics and map staff, designer, web producer, and executive editorial team) meet with the Editor-in-Chief. If all goes well, the story is given the full green light. This can take about a month to prepare for.

3. Then it is off to the races. Stories can take many forms and lengths of field time–far too many variables to pin down an average. We usually try to do most stories in two trips so that half way through the coverage the story team can re-gather, review the photographs to-date, and make any necessary course corrections. This “Interim Projection” also gives the Editor a better handle on which issue of the magazine the story should run.

4. After the field work is complete, the photographer typically comes in to headquarters and works with the photo editor to hone the completed coverage into a “Final Projection.” Pretty much all the same folks who see the Interim, see this show. This takes about a week (although the photo editors are reviewing the photographs much sooner and at greater length then when the photographer is in the office to construct the show).

5. Then the story goes into layout and work begins on any special web features. The photographer is very much a part of that process. From our viewpoint it would be both financially and journalistically foolish to not involve directly the person who we invested our resources into for the story. The person who best knows which images capture the truth of the story is the one that was there. It may seem like a luxury, but we feel it is a part of our process that makes a tangible difference in the accuracy of the final published stories. Layout takes about a week.

6. Then it is pretty much all typical pre-press and printing process from then on out. Finalizing of design and color correction takes about a month or so, printing takes about a month, world-wide delivery about two weeks.

So from beginning to end a story can take from about six months (rare) to about a year, and in some cases–particularly with natural history coverages–a couple of years.

I admire not only their strong passion for photography but also their professionalism. How hard they work!

They seem that they got professionalism and purity like a child at the same time. It is seemingly quite hard to remain both of them but they bring them off.

I think the most important thing is that he believes that the power of photography can make change.

That’s why he has been working in the photographic world over 30 years and he always keeps going forward regardless of tough world.

I’m happy that a person who is at such a great position like him has never lost their passion to photography and has tried to tell the stories in such a hard time in terms of dificulty of recent publications.

Yusuke Suzuki



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