Author(s): Gil Grosvenor
To understand the entire legendary and quite glamorous story of National Geographic photography, one need look no further than the four lensmen, whose lives and work are celebrated in Odysseys and Photographs. While the photographers were all supported and nurtured - technically and creatively - by the Geographic, each had his own interests and his own style and each made his own unique contribution to world culture, science, and history. Following an introduction that sets the scene, the book is divided into four parts, each devoted to one man's life and work. Personal journals, anecdotes and behind-the-scenes correspondence are featured, in addition to stunning photographs.Maynard Owen Williams (1888 - 1963) was a National Geographic correspondent from 1919. An inveterate traveller from his teens, he thoroughly explored Asia and took the first images of the giant Afghanistan Buddhas, recently destroyed. In his own words a 'camera-coolie and a roughneck'. Maynard Williams was also an excellent photographer, and pioneered travel photography. Volkmar K.Wentzel (1915 - 2006), was a German-born American photographer, born in Dresden, Germany, he started taking photographs after he made a pinhole camera with the help of his father. In 1937, after taking a collection of night photographs of Washington, D.C. (which went on to become a book), he was hired as a darkroom assistant at the National Geographic Societyand he enjoyed a long career in photography.Luis Marden (born Annibale Luigi Paragallo; 1913 - 2003) worked for "National Geographic Magazine" as a photographer and reporter, before serving as chief of the foreign editorial staff. He was a pioneer in the use of colour photography, both on land and underwater, and also made many discoveries in the world of science. Thomas J. Abercrombie (1930 - 2006) interest in photography came after his older brother got a Leica camera, prompting him to build his own camera from scratch. As a staff member of National Geographic magazine, Abercrombie was known for his work in Muslim countries, visited all seven continents, and was one of the first two journalists to reach the South Pole in 1957. He was also the first person to win both the Newspaper Photographer of the year.