Joseph Philipson Visual Journalism661.727.4057
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Washington, DC – Day Three

The day started with the class heading over to National Geographic to meet Ken Geiger, a frood with an amazing job. I had a great time perusing the offices, taking peeks in to see what people were working on.


This is Wilma, she was created in October of 2008 for the cover of National Geographic on an article about DNA evidence and neanderthal man. You can read more about her here on Daily Mail.

Ken spoke to us a bit about what it takes to be a National Geographic photographer and the ins and outs of the magazine. Photography is a big deal at NG, even the people in power realize this and give the photographers who propose stories a generous budget to work with to get the photos they need. The photographer is the author of the article and has artistic input throughout the process. Proposal to print the photographer is part of the undertaking.

NG wants every frame the photographer shoots, and takes a look at the entire take. Half-way through the shoot the photographer comes back to NG headquarters to see what he does and doesn’t have. If the story is developing the way everyone thought it would and a decision is made at that time to continue or pull the plug. Photo essays can be anywhere between $80-$160k, and the plug can and has been pulled anywhere between proposal and layout. From idea to print the process takes about a year. The printing alone takes 3 weeks of 24 hour printing. This is because NG publishes in thirty-three different languages and a readership of about 50 million, world-wide, every month. Each magazine’s advertisements are also tweaked on the demographics that the magazine is reaching.

The thing that most interested me about NG is that they are a non-profit organization. The magazine is part of the National Geographic Society. Photography in the magazine started as scientists would take photographs of their discoveries. I digress, it was a great experience as I hope to work for a magazine one day… Ahem, Wired.

Then we descended into the building’s basement where the things you can’t buy are built for photographer’s in the field.

It was full of awesome.

Looks like a fun place to work.

We saw the plans for a hippo suit.

National Geographic was fun and would be an amazing place to work.

Off to Associated Press we went. There was time between the meetings so I messed around with my camera.

At AP we had a good discussion about freelancing and what it takes. Also, we talked about the future of business as photography changes and formats change.

I didn’t want to go on the tour, but William insisted I go. I’m glad I did, it wasn’t like the other AP office in NYC at all.

I just took this photo of Obama that was on the wall because I just think he looks so BA.

AARP showed us some videos they put together and the redesign of their website. We talked a bit about photography and how we can go about pitching projects to them.

I have many things to ponder from today and I’ll have to go through my notes again sometime and put together a spreadsheet or something to keep my head together.

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