National Geographic Photographer Docuseries

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National Geographic photographer series.
Quick summary

PHOTOGRAPHER is a National Geographic documentary series featuring seven renowned photographers showcasing their work and creative process.

National Geographic’s six-part series, Photographer showcases video footage of the professional lives and work of some of the world’s most extraordinary visual storytellers. Viewers journey behind-the-scenes to look at the art and action of these photographers in their pursuit of extraordinary images.

Each hour-long episode features a different photographer(s):

  • Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeir
  • Anand Varma
  • Dan Winters
  • Campbell Addy
  • Krystle Wright
  • Muhammed Muheisen

Produced by today’s leading documentary filmmakers, Photographer offers a unique perspective on the power of photography to tell stories, evoke emotions, and inspire change. Through current and archived footage, in-depth interviews, and iconic images, we learn about the challenges and rewards of being a photographer, as well as the importance of ethical practices and environmental conservation in the industry.

The series premiered on the National Geographic channel in March 2024. All episodes stream on Disney+ and Hulu.

In this article, we’ll preview each episode in the Photographer tv series. These short documentaries disclose each photographer’s process and artistic vision, their personal projects, and how they experience their world.

Episode 1: Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeir: Win or Die

Partners in their professional and personal lives, Nicklen and Mittermeir “fell in love on their first dive together in the Yucatan,” according to National Geographic. Drawing inspiration from iconic photographer Jacques Cousteau, they capture breathtaking images showcasing the beauty of the oceans and highlighting the need for conservation. They document the fragile ecosystems and endangered species. Their photographs tell powerful stories, evoking emotions and inspiring viewers to take action towards protecting our planet.

mittermeier and nicklen.
Christina Mittermeir and Paul Nicklen © National Geographic/Brent Knuckle.

In this episode, directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, they photograph the underwater world of the Bahamas. Nicklen and Mittermeir document recently discovered seagrass beds and taking on oil drilling. Using their images, family archival materials, and underwater video, this episode provides a compelling look at their present-day life and mission to create change and inspire people.

Nicklen and Mittermeir are co-founders of SeaLegacy, a foundation that aims to raise awareness for the preservation of the world’s oceans. To facilitate this cause, Mittermeir has more than 1 million followers on Instagram. The organization works “at the nexus of climate action and sustainable solutions.”

Nicklen grew up among the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic. He worked as a biologist in the Northwest Territories, then specialized in photography in the polar regions.

Born in Mexico City, Mittermeier began as a marine biologist. She immersed herself in global environments and works as a writer, conservationist, and photographer.

mayan skulls by nicklen.
Mayan skulls in a sacred well in Mexico © Paul Nicklen.

Paul Nicklen Accolades

  • National Geographic Fellow
  • BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year
  • World Press Photo

Cristina Mittermeir Accolades

  • National Geographic Adventurers of the Year
  • Smithsonian Conservation Photographer of the Year
  • Member of the World Photographic Academy

Episode 2: Anand Varma: Hidden Wonders

With a talent for documenting the natural world through photography, Varma dreamed of becoming a scientist like his father. However, while studying marine biology at Berkeley, he left school to work as a camera assistant.

photographer anand varma.
Anand Varma © National Geographic.

An ingenious and profound soul who is endlessly enthusiastic about all things “icky,” he masterfully navigates the intersection of science and art. In addition, Varma accomplishes the nearly impossible feat of making high-brow geeky science accessible through his innovative approach. He made some unusual and iconic portraits and photographs of bees, bats, and hummingbirds.

This episode, directed by Marshall Curry, delves into his childhood obsession with fish and how he evolved into a photographer. Plus, we get a look at his efforts to capture the developmental process of a chicken embryo as it’s forming and hatching into a chick. Viewers get an inside look at his working style as he tries to deliver yet another groundbreaking innovation in photography.

Varma operates a storytelling studio called WonderLab, based in Berkeley, CA. Varma’s photography and video innovations expand how we see and understand the hidden wonders of the world. Varma’s dedication to his craft and his passion for storytelling through photography inspires others to see the world from a different perspective.

honey bee by anand varma.
A new honey bee emerges from a brood cell © Anand Varma.

Anand Varma Accolades

  • National Geographic Media Innovation Fellow
  • Rita Allen Civic Science Fellow
  • World Press Award for best nature story.

Episode 3: Dan Winters: Life is Once. Forever.

National Geographic photographer dan winters.
Dan Winters © National Geographic/David Fausto.

Celebrated for his distinctive portraits, including one of Barack Obama, Winters is a celebrated American photographer. Widely known for his scientific work, street photography, and illustrations, he photographed the Artemis launch and created a photo feature on the shipyards of Bangladesh. He brings an exceptional talent and a unique approach to capturing the essence of his subjects.

This Pagan Harleman directed episode showcases his creative process, allowing viewers to gain a deeper understanding of the stories behind his iconic images and portraits. Traveling to the Kennedy Space Center, Iceland, and Bangladesh, Winters chases a childhood memory. Sometimes, he reflects, the most important moments are at home, not halfway around the world behind a camera.

barack obama by dan winters.
President Barack Obama at the White House in 2016 © Dan Winters.

Through his work, Winters continues to push the boundaries of traditional portraiture, leaving an indelible mark on the world of photography.

Dan Winters Accolades

  • World Press Photo Award for Arts and Entertainment
  • Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography
  • Photo Icon in the Kodak Legends Series Photographer

Episode 4: Campbell Addy: Feeling Seen

National Geographic photographer campbell addy.
Campbell Addy © National Geographic.

A highly sought after fashion photographer, Addy recently shot Meghan Markle and Megan Thee Stallion for NY Mag and Naomi Campbell for Vogue. So his orbit is somewhere in the fashion stratosphere. A London native, he sees his purpose as expressing his vision and expanding his art.

Directed by Crystal Kayiza and Sam Pollard, this episode reveals his fear of repetition and commercialism and how his newfound fame and success also present challenges. So, Addy changed agencies to refocus his career on his more personal work and open a solo art exhibition in London. Viewers get an inside look at Campbell Addy and his crew of artists and stylists as he works to create images that make a lasting impact on fashion photography. 

Addy’s visually stunning work carries a powerful message, often addressing important social issues and challenging traditional fashion standards, capturing the beauty and diversity of the world.

fadhi mohammed by campbell addy.
Fadhi Mohammed for The Wall Street Journal Magazine @ Campbell Addy.

Campbell Addy Accolades

  • Cover Photographs for Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Financial Times
  • Forbes 30 Under 30
  • British Fashion Awards in 2018 and 2019

Episode 5: Krystle Wright: Heart Explosions

After over a decade of traveling the world shooting extreme sports, Krystle Wright is at a critical moment in her life and her career. That is, an unexpected medical emergency and the pandemic forced her to put her career as an iconic photographer on hold. Now, the Australian native re-enters the heavily male-dominated world of adventure photography.

krystle wright.
Krystle Wright © National Geographic/Jayce Kolinski.

This episode, directed by Kristi Jacobson, features her efforts to rejuvenate her career. She captures images of a dangerous tornado and an epic photo of the Reptilian Wall in Moab, Utah. In addition, Wright shares the ups and downs of her unusual lifestyle. And she ponders whether activities that involve risking life make the best outlet for her creativity.

The Krystle Wright portfolio includes images of base jumping, rock climbing, and surfing. Her unique perspective and ability to freeze moments of action in time have earned her international acclaim in the world of extreme sports photography.

supercell storm by krystle wright.
A supercell storm in Nebraska © Krystle Wright.

Krystle Wright Accolades

  • A regular contributor to @NatGeoTravel Instagram account
  • Published in National Geographic magazine and National Geographic books
  • Commercial photography for Patagonia, Apple, and Red Bull

Episode 6: Muhammed Muheisen: Finding the Light

photographer muhammed mulheisen.
Muhammed Muheisen © National Geographic/Brent Dunkle.

Veteran conflict photographer Muhammed Muheisen answers a new calling. That is, he no longer ventures to the frontlines in search of drama and despair. A Jordanian, Muheisen was born and raised amongst conflict in the Middle East. Now, he uses photography for advocacy, activism and to raise awareness of global issues. Also, he dedicates his art to giving a voice to the many children caught up in the refugee crisis.

Directed by Rita Baghdadi, this episode follows Muheisen’s evolution from photojournalism to activism. It shows him on his current mission, documenting the stories of Ukrainian war refugees, specifically children, at the Ukrainian/Romanian border. Through his art and nonprofit organization, Everyday Refugees, Muheisen supports projects that build schools, provide much-needed supplies, and teach the languages and skills refugees need to better navigate their futures.

refugee camp by muhammed mulheisen.
Aerial view of Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan © Muhammed Muheisen.

Muhammed Muheisen Accolades

  • Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
  • UNICEF Photo of the Year
  • TIME Magazine Wire Photographer of the Year

Conclusion

National Geographic Photographer docuseries is both entertaining and inspiring. As a photographer, I believe it is well worth the time and bears repeated viewings. The series highlights the impact of photography on society, shedding light on pressing issues and celebrating the beauty of the natural world.

For over 135 years, National Geographic has built a legacy of visual storytelling. National Geographic content reaches 300 million people in 180 countries and 33 languages. 

I hope this article gives you a glimpse into the Photographer series and that you take the time to watch each episode. Plus, I hope it motivates you to dig deeper into the lessons and articles in Great Big Photography World. If you have any comments or questions, please submit them in the space below.

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Daniel is a professional photographer who has been providing photographic and written content to websites since 1995. He maintains a photo gallery on Pictorem.com, showcasing his most recent work. In addition, Daniel is active in stock photography, with portfolios on Adobe, Getty/iStock, and Shutterstock.
Daniel is a professional photographer who has been providing photographic and written content to websites since 1995. He maintains a photo gallery on Pictorem.com, showcasing his most recent work. In addition, Daniel is active in stock photography, with portfolios on Adobe, Getty/iStock, and Shutterstock.
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