Monday, 16 January 2012

An interview with National Geographic magazine editor Chris Johns.

I came across an interesting post on burn magazine yesterday, which is a blog for emerging photograhers, run and curated by legendary Magnum and National Geographic photographer David Alan Harvey.

He's definitely up there with my favourite documentary photographers, with a great eye for colours, light, timing and composition. A few years ago I bought one of his photography books, Cuba, which in itself is a photography lesson. 

But back to the original point, in this blog post David interviews the current National Geographic magazine editor in chief, Chris Johns. As well as holding the top position at the Nat Geo headquarters in Washington D.C., Chris has also had decades of experience as a photographer himself. The insights gleaned from their conversation are fascinating, with a frank and open discussion regarding the trials and tribulations of working out in the field for the magazine.

Following on from that post, there's a bit of a sneak peek at one of David's upcoming articles, showing several potential opening spreads in one of the picture editor's layout rooms.

Then in the following post, Senior Photo Editor Sarah Leen looks at three different options for the first few pages of the article. It's interesting to see how much of a difference editing and sequencing can make to the mood and feel of a story, and the post is interactive, in that David asks readers to comment on what layout they like best, and why.

It's quite difficult to choose a favourite, as I like them all. I would choose the top row, as I really like the surfer beach shot as an opener, but with only a small photo on the third page, as opposed to the three full page images of the other two, it has less impact visually. That said, with the fishing picture being a very strong frame and on the fourth spread page, I think it just wins out over the second row. 

Chris Johns makes the final call, but I'm keen to see what the final cut looks like in the June issue.

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