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India Through NatGeo’s Eyes



India Through NatGeo’s Eyes

Jan 27 is National Geographic Day – we look at 5 NatGeo photographers who’ve captured India in all its glory and turmoil

130 years ago the world was awakened to its own wonders. The National Geographic Society was founded on January 27, 1888 in Washington DC “to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge”, and since then, the society’s flagship magazine National Geographic has given the average layman a glimpse of how gorgeous and nuanced our world truly is.

For over more than a century, the magazine has been known for its stellar quality, especially the high standard of photography maintained till date. India has featured in several issues, including this 1921 shot of the Taj Mahal, and over the years, the yellow-bordered book has tracked and documented the subcontinent impeccably.

We take a look at 5 National Geographic photographers, who have documented India in its various moods and lights, telling important stories and celebrating all that the country stands for on the magazine’s famed pages.

1. Steve McCurry

McCurry’s relationship with India is strong, so much so that his photographs are still widely synonymous as art pieces from the subcontinent.

His iconic images, including a shot of women hiding from a sandstorm in Rajasthan, a steam locomotive entering Agra railway station, and a book documenting the monsoon season across the country, are hallmarks in documentary photography.

Though, these days, Steve’s work has come under fire for being staged or digitally manipulated, one can’t deny that his body of work has inspired a generation of photographers and will continue to do so. See more here.

2. Michael Yamashita

Since 1979, Michael has been associated with NatGeo, and for the past 10 years or so, he has concentrated on documenting all that Asia’s cities and countrysides have to offer through breathtaking imagery.

Through his travel photography, Mike has covered diverse places from Kashmir to Kerala in India, and his quiet, soothing pictures of Buddhist culture, especially in Tibet, are unparalleled. See more of his work here.

3. Ami Vitale

American photojournalist Ami Vitale has travelled to over 90 countries and had some of her most compelling work published in NatGeo, but India remains close to her heart.

A pretty accessible person in Indian photography circles, Ami’s speciality lies in “living the story”. Her work on post-Godhra Gujarat is an eye-opening reminder of the futility of communal clashes, while her travel documentary work radiates a subtle beauty. See more of Ami’s India-related work on her website.

4. Jonas Bendiksen

Wedding lights, Dharavi, Mumbai, 2006. Magnum Photos 5-day only $100-print sale is on again! This time the photographers have chosen among their most intimate moments. The sale is on until Friday the 13th of November. This image of the girl playing alone beneath wedding lights in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum is not the closest or rawest image I’ve ever taken. But it is somehow a subtly tender and magical moment, where I feel like I drift into this little girl’s frame of mind for a second. Whenever I feel I somehow am there with that person, and I feel something that connects me – that is what I define as an intimate image, more than if the picture is really up close or in your face. The image was the cover of my 2008 book "The Places We Live". Click the store link in my bio to purchase a print. #MAGNUMsquare @magnumphotos

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For decades, Mumbai’s largest slum, Dharavi, has been documented by visual artists of all cadres and nationalities. What makes Jonas’ 2007 body of work on the slum special is the unmistakeable beauty that shines through — despite the grim realities of urban life. The tenderness of a girl lost in play amidst Diwali lights, and the dramatic shot of workers pounding sacks of paint chips are unforgettable. See more here.

5. Prasenjeet Yadav

Skyislands: Shola forests are patches of dense stunted tropical montane forests found in the valleys of the Skyislands of the western ghats and are surrounded and separated from each other by undulating grasslands. The Shola biome has a high water retention capacity and exists as the precious source of the water for the high altitude organisms and are the origin of many streams and rivers in the Western Ghats. If you want to know more about these sky islands and the species that live in them, check out the full story here : #WesternGhats #India #Wildlife #Photostory #letsexplore #NationalGeographic #Natgeoexplorer @natgeoyourshot #natgeo #natgeoyourshot @instagram @[email protected] @natgeocreative

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The newest entrant into the famed NatGeo circle of photographers, Bangalore-based Prasenjeet is a molecular biologist and a National Geographic Explorer, whose seminal work on the Shola forests of the Western Ghats is a sight to behold.

Combining science with storytelling, Prasenjeet aims to drive communities towards conservation and is currently also working in the wild corners of North East India. Follow his work on his website.

Image Credit: (1), (2), (3)




Mineli Goswami is a 24-year-old Assamese-East Indian, which usually translates into pretty good weekend feasts. When she’s not at her desk struggling with poetry – more often than she’d like – she’s seen wasting time on an assortment of things such as lugging an antique SLR, breaking nails climbing boulders, and chasing turtles. She’s graduated in history and has an unofficial PhD in Bandra-style jiving.

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