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Through the Lens: "National Geographic" Greatest Photographs - Leah Bendavid-Val

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Genre: Art / Architecture / Photography / Author: Leah Bendavid-Val / Hardcover / 504 Pages / Book is published 2003-10-31 by National Geographic Books

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      26.07.2013 09:21
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      250 of National Geographic's Greatest Photographs

      I have owned this beautiful book for ten years so I think it is about time I gave it its 10th anniversary review. I have reviewed it briefly on other sites but I think this whopper of a book deserves more than a few lines.

      When I say whopper, I mean it. My copy is a hard cover and weighs 2.8 kilos; it loves to collect dust sitting on the top shelf of my bookshelves. It is too heavy to lift from the top, I could place it lower down but I like it to stand so I can see the front cover and the top shelf allows this.

      I bought it when I last lived in UK (2003) from Gretna Green. There was one of those discontinued book stores where they sell end of lines and books that nobody wants to buy. Why this was there I haven't a clue because 2003 was the year the book was published. I've just looked at the inside cover and there is a price tag stating, £19.99. I didn't pay that amount; I think I paid only a fiver.

      There are at least three reasons I purchased the book. One, I am an amateur photographer, love photographs and have a dream that one day I will be as good as the guys and gals who photograph for National Geographic Magazine. Two, I was sick to death of having piles and piles of dusty, moth eaten National Geographic magazines stuffed under our bed. I thought the book would compensate for the removal of the magazines. Three, the cover of a Japanese Geisha drew me to the book and once opened I fell in love with a lot of the photographs.

      The book is edited by Leah Bendavid Val (National Geographic), published in 20 languages, most of the photographs are of exceptional quality, in colour and taken from the 113 year old magazine's archive of over 10 million pictures. The mammoth book is split into 6 sections; Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, The Americas, Oceans and Isles and the Universe. At the beginning of each section there is an overview of what to expect from that section. Sometimes the descriptions cover a quarter of a page, other times they can spread over one or two pages. The introduction gives an overview of the top photographers who contribute to the book.

      On the front of the cover it says that this is a collection of the greatest photos of National Geographic. There are 250 images in all, covering 113 years of photography. Readers of National Geographic will be able to spot famous names like Sam Abell, Annie Griffiths Belt, Jodie Cobb and Chris Johns. There are a lot more but these are some of the names I know. Not all the photographs are new to the public for the first time, fans of the magazine will notice photographs that have been previously published in back copies of National Geographic.

      One question I would ask the editor or whoever chose the 250 greatest photos is this, 'How do you choose the greatest out of millions of images and what is the criteria? Surely, there is no perfect collection. My guess is that the photos are chosen because each tells its own story and will have an effect on readers, move them in some way.

      Reading many reviews on Goodreads, I concluded that 90% of readers were positive about this book. The other 10% per cent thought the book was boring, the pictures weren't of a very high standard etc. One lady said, 'If these are NG greatest photographs I am worried. I have seen better photos from children.' Another said, 'just another coffee table book.'

      What do I think?

      I have had the book a long time; it has become an old friend. I do look at it often especially when some of my photographs have turned out awful. I look to it for inspiration. My husband often uses the book with his English Language students. He lets them choose their favourite photographs and then asks them to describe the photos. They love the book; their favourite picture is the amazing photo of Tajik children going over their class notes before school in a mountain village of China's Xinjiang Province. This too is one of my favourites; I love the vibrant autumnal colours of the children's clothes set against a distressed yellow ochre wall and blue door. I also like the way the photographer has captured the look on the faces of the children. You can see that they are trying to be well behaved but at the same time there is a touch of mischievousness lurking.

      Each photograph conveys some sort of message or piece of valuable information. Take wildlife photography, one picture may reveal something about an animal's behaviour that nobody has ever captured before. When we think of exotic places we think of beaches, palm trees, outstanding architecture, we don't always think about normal life in these places and how ordinary folk go about their business. A snapshot of fresh, crisp washing blowing in the wind or ladies stood outside in the sun, washing clothes in a communal laundry or river in some remote and tropical place may show us that we have everyday things in common with these people. That one simple image can say so much.

      I have always thought that National Geographic has been a magazine that likes to spread geographic knowledge. I admit that sometimes I find the articles a bit dry and I do nod off and never finish the article but I think the photographs on cultural subjects in the book seize the mystery, beauty, confusion and diversity of life behind the media headlines. These pictures increase my understanding of those headlines; tell me something about why these events happen and as they unfold I am able to understand more and what the outcome might be. I particularly love the photographs of natural history, wildlife, archaeology and exploration. From these I learn where man came from and what the world I live in is made from. Not only are these photographs interesting, they are very entertaining.

      If you think the book covers 113 years of photography it has to reflect changes in technology and photographic styles. I think it does especially with the wild life photographs. For one, technology today enables photographers to get closer and take more intimate shots. Some of the pictures in the Americas, Wild Life section would not have been possible in the early days and the shots under water in the Oceans and Isles section are the first underwater colour photographs to be shown in National Geographic, mostly taken in the mid-nineties. They are amazing and have been taken using faster films than say in the 50s and of course been digital edited.

      Finally, I think the book is well balanced. I like the way it depicts place and a time, how the photographer and his/her subject is represented in a balanced way. Through the Lens is very broad in scope and the subject matter is universal, it is relevant to a worldwide audience and it shows the diversity of life.

      Every time I take the book down from the shelf I am amazed at the photographs, they are stunning. There are so many special images like the washing flapping in the wind that always reminds me of Lisbon even though the shot was taken in Sicily. My list of favourite photos is long but I particularly love the one of babies lined up in a very long cot waiting to be washed in Shanghai, workers wearing jazzy clothes as they climb the Great Mosque in Mali, to give it a new lick of paint, the simplicity of the black and white photo of "Sing Song" girls in Taiwan, playing traditional instruments for guests at a tea house and the one of Lida and Miso Suchy, showing the village of Kryvorivnya, Ukraine, and its surrounding hills, the ancestral homelands of Lida Suchy's father's family. Like I said, the list is endless but it is well worth reaching page 501 to see all the images.

      It's a great book, it makes me want to get out there with my camera, pack my rucksack and get travelling. My only niggle is that it is heavy; perhaps I will leave it on the coffee table and not place it back on the shelf.

      Through the Lens will make a great gift for someone who is interested in photography, travel, nature, science and people. Highly recommended.

      The book is on Amazon priced £7.69, a great price. ISBN: 079226164X.

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        09.07.2013 10:15
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        Beautiful product to own.

        There are a couple of different sizes of this book: a large hard copy and a small hard copy. I have ordered both from Amazon, one as a gift and the other for myself - unfortunately, for myself I didn't think to check the size and ended up with the 'handbag' sized version (3.1 x 17.2 x 16.1 cm) - still chunky and filled with fantastic photographs - but with rather less wow factor as a coffee table book.

        The book itself is top quality: a hardback book with a glossy slipcover, filled with beautiful glossy photographs - some colour, some in black and white - but all of them works of art in themselves. The pictures span continents and cultures over different eras and take up many different topics. For example, the little version I have in front of me examines the topic of Women in Europe, with examples of ladies bicycling near Berlin in 1937, models wearing Yves Saint Laurent in 1989, and a demure Turkish lady posing in her finery in 1929 to note just a few.

        The book appeals to a wide audience with its photographs. There are photographs from all over the globe of people, places, archaeology, animals, and even photographs of the night sky and space. Because of its attention to a variety of subject matters I think this book appeals to both genders equally and readers of all ages. There is ample text in the book to explain the background and circumstances of these pictures. The pictures seem to pull you into them - the sure sign of highly skilled photography. Some pictures make you sad, some are exhilarating and uplifting, some quite amusing. They really have the power to tug at the emotions.

        My personal favourite is a photograph of two Japanese Macaques (snow monkeys) bathing in the waters of a hot spring....or actually, is it the picture of people walking along the precarious looking footbridge in the early morning mists over the Zambezi River....? That's the trouble with this book there are so many good pictures that it's nearly impossible to pick an absolute favourite.

        Currently(9/7/2013) this book is £7.14 for the small version on Amazon which is really good value for money.

        Would recommend as a gift or to keep as it provides hours of browsing and dreaming.

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          16.12.2009 10:49
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          An amazing journal - stunning in so many ways.

          I've had my subscription to the Nat Geog for over a year now, and it is definitely worth the fee for the amazing quality and insight this magazine brings. Although it is an American magazine, the articles focus on events, people, and places from around the world, and the diversity of the articles always continues to astound. Where else do you find articles on the potential methods of resurrecting the wooly mammoth, or the wild horses of the American plains? In terms of journalism, the articles cannot be topped: the prose is always informative, clear and avoids falling into the trap of excessive verbosity. Everything is explained at a level a complete layman can understand, and gives you a good insight into the article's subject.
          However, what really sets this aside from any other journal is the photography. Every month, each one is packed full of superb, stunning photography. Almost every single photograph amazes and astounds the reader, whether it be the untouched beauty of the Canadian wilds in spring, the sight of hundreds of thousands of penguins clustering together, or a lone citizen of a war-torn city.
          In terms of the fee, I think mine was £29 for the 12-month subscription, which makes it much cheaper than buying in the shops. In my view, there is no better way of expanding your knowledge of the planet, the environment, and the universe. This is a great gift for someone who loves nature, science, or just loves knowing.

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          07.09.2009 01:12
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          Definitely worth reading

          When I first began my geography degree it was suggested that we should regularly read something of a geographical nature. Having always read the National Geographic magazines in dentists' etcetera I decided to subscribe to this magazine for the length of my course. I find that National Geographic covers a wide range of topics including technology, the environment, wildlife, archaeology and geography. These articles are always very interesting and provide enough academic detail to be suitable for use on a degree course! Each magazine normally contains around five feature articles. The other really good thing about National Geographic is the photography, the magazine normally includes at least one photo on every page and they are generally spectacular. Some of the images are taken by readers as well as professionals.

          National Geographic enables wider thinking about the world; the magazine often highlights issues that aren't always in the public eye. This therefore provides the reader with more information about the world they live in. I don't know if it's just me but reading a National Geographic magazine always makes me want to travel! The magazine always covers a range of places around the world and the mixture of writing and photos can often make these places very appealing to visit.

          I would highly recommend National Geographic for anyone who is interested in the world they live in and also anyone who like photography. The only thing that needs mentioning is that the language uses in a National Geographic magazine is often of an academic nature so some things that are written can be hard to understand and someone who struggles with reading generally would most likely struggle to read the articles.

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            30.07.2009 20:40
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            A whole world in a magazine

            The National Geographic magazine is the magazine of the National Geographic Society in America. The society was founded in 1888 "as a non-profit scientific and educational organisation".

            The magazine does stand out quite a bit as it has a distinctive yellow border round the front of each and every issue. Inside this yellow boarder is a picture that is related to one of the articles within the magazine that particular month. There are twelve issues every year which cost £4.99 per issue straight off the news stand or £29 for a years subscription.

            The magazine, like the TV channels, takes you all over the world and covers subjects as diverse as history and space, as well as most things in between. The subjects covered are often current so I often relate to what is being written.

            In each issue, there are five or six articles included, on a wide range of subjects. In the issue I received the other day, these articles are talking about Venice, Yellowstones so called 'supervolcano' and also talks about the salmon runs up some of Russias rivers. As well as the articles, there are snippets of information on various subjects like technology, the environment, wildlife and archeaology. I always enjoy reading these pieces as, even though you may not find them useful in your everyday life, they are interesting and this is where I often learn most.

            Within each article, there are pictures that I find great, especially the wildlife ones. They always relate to the topic that is being discussed and really are a pleasure to look at.

            There are several reasons why I love this magazine. The first is that I love reading about things in other places in the world, and also about outer space. In each issue, there are a wide range of subjects covered, and therefore always something that captures my interest. There are some great pictures included in the magazine. In issues that could be complicated to us that havent been to university, they have well laid out diagrams that make subjects clear. In a few issues each year, they give you a large map on a particular subject, which helps me to place things within the area being talked about.

            The only thing that I dont always like is that sometimes there are only one or two articles that take my interest. As for that, there are no disappointments to this magazine.

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              24.10.2008 22:03
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              A magazine that is crammed with information on our World.

              National Geographic is a magazine with an insight into the wonders of our world.

              Special features include:
              News on the environment and green issues
              Travel and culture,Science and space
              History ,maps and music
              Children`s section
              Photography
              National Geographic channel
              TV and film.

              National Geographic has a non profit mission where it is possible to buy books,DVD`s,maps and clothing
              National Geographic mission was founded in 1888 to "Increase and diffuse gepgraphic knowledge."
              The Mission works very hard to educate people to care for the planet.

              National Gepgraphic is making inroads in our schools and offers a sign upo programme and classroom magazines.
              Also the chance to join up all around the world via the Internet to dicuss global issues.

              The National Geographic website has a series of video clips and photgraphs for you to view,ranging from a hypnotic flow of lava to exploration of prehistoric times.

              A section is devoted to Space and its mysteries.

              Subscription prices.

              A special introductory rate of $15 will give you 12 monthly issues of National Geographic.

              Ten issues of the National Geographic kids magazine can be bought for $15..this includes a free World ball. ( For aged 6 - 14 years)

              Six issues of the National Gepgraphic little kids magazine can be bought for $15 (aged 3 - 6 years)
              These magazines are packed with picture games and stories.


              We have subscribed to the National Geographic Magazine as a family.
              The magazine offers insight into the way the World works and the ways that we can help save our planet.
              Besides being crammed with photographs and interesting articles,every copy is an educational trip for both young and old alike.

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              26.10.2007 13:33
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              A truly eye-opener of a magazine

              I`ve subscribed as well as unsubscribed to quite a few magazines in my time but there is one publication in particular that I so look forward to reading every month. Renewing my subscription for the National Geographic magazine has been on-going for five years now, during which I have accumulated sixty issues. A fine collection of compelling articles that explore the globe and probe into regions of the world you never thought existed. The National Geographic is much more than just a magazine - it's a learning tool journal with a cutting edge to it. The mere fact that's its been in circulation since 1888, continuing to sell millions of copies worldwide demonstrates the powerful impact & hold it has on its readers. You will be hard pressed to put the magazine down once you start reading one of their articles - all the hallmarks of superb writing style, its simply journalism at its best.


              •[Magazine: Presentation & Format]•

              The magazine itself always sports a yellow square border logo, a logo that has remained unchanged since the launch of the first publication. The National Geographic journal is very slim and all the pages are condensed - its perfect size makes it easy to read and manage when flicking from one page to another. Equipped with high quality binding as well as paper, you will find the pages will not fall out or tear that easily. This magazine can be thrown around, folded, rolled up and yet still keep its quality and pristine condition. How many of you have seen the National Geographic magazine in a dental surgery/doctors surgery? - I am sure quite a few of you have and if so , you would have noticed that the magazine being displayed is still in good condition despite dating back many years and being handled by many people. A good indicator on the quality and presentation this magazine offers.

              The front cover always reveals the commentary and reports that will be discussed in any particular monthly issue - it normally covers five in-depth pieces of writing. The design, layout and formatting of the information and images is very stylish and user friendly. It clearly shows when reading the articles that a lot of thought has gone into the planning and presentation of the story. Another great feature this journal has , but you will only appreciate this feature once you have accumulated quite a few National Geographic issues is the listing of the topics on the binding part of the magazine. As your collection grows you may want to store them up-right into more of a library mode look. - If so, then it's so easy to read off the information without having to pull out the magazine from the shelf. I can guarantee that you will at some point want to refer back to an article you read, this feature will aid that.


              •[Articles - Topics - Reviews]•

              The National Geographic show no limits or boundaries when looking to explore all the parts of the globe - A team of experts will unearth the unknown or investigate places of the universe that you simply never knew existed. Whether it be on wildlife animals or issues that face the world today such as energy & the environment , politics , science & technology , the depths of the ocean or even space and the surrounding planets. Either way you will not miss out on the mesmeric findings & discoveries that these experts relay and discuss in the articles - a diverse array of topics that draws the reader in. Subjects that will not only shock & surprise but will also entertain, fascinate and educate - a truly EYE-OPENER of a magazine.

              The National Geographic has no set pattern as to which subjects/topics get published monthly, that's one of the reasons why I like this magazine so much. The element of surprise is what keeps this journal exciting, never dull and always spoilt for choice. Basically , this magazine sells itself and there is no doubt in my mind that if you really want to know and be in touch with issues that face the world today then the National Geographic is one that will always be at the fore of such matters. All the articles published are exceptionally well-written, researched by the very best in their field and all the information is factual and not fabricated.


              •[Pictures - Images - Photography]•

              The National Geographic is renowned for its powerful & stunning photography and this is clearly evident when reading the many articles in this magazine. The collection of images captured provides a perfect backdrop and setting, giving the article another lease of life. Colourful and eye-catching pictures are just as important as the article itself - Not only do they express and encapsulate the ambiance but at times if you look deeper the one picture on its own can reveal far more than the article itself. Images that simply speak to you, words are not needed to understand the concept of what is happening. For a picture to have this impact on the reader then it goes to show how powerful the imagery is.

              Picture perfect is exactly what these photographers endeavour to do - if this means sitting in the middle of a snow blizzard for hours until the flawless camera snap has been taken then so be it. You will find some amazing images that only the photographer will know how he/she managed to take such a snap - either way you will appreciate the dedication and hard work these experts have accomplished when reading and browsing through the numerous National Geographic publication issues.


              •[Subscription: National Geographic]•

              One single monthly issue will set you back £3.95 & if you multiply that by twelve months then your looking £47.40 on a yearly basis. However , if your like me who needs the National Geographic fix per calendar month then subscription is the way forward - not only is it cheaper but the magazine will also get delivered to your home address. Been with them now for five years and I have no intentions of terminating my subscription. You are quickly notified when renewal is due and have never had any problems with this company. The magazine always arrives on time and I am never disappointed at the material & content of information provided.

              If you subscribe to the National Geographic magazine this is how much it will cost you:

              • - 12 Monthly issues under subscription will set you back £29.00 plus they throw in a collection of colourful world maps.

              This I have to say is amazing value for money and I will take that a step further by reinforcing how good this deal is. I also had a subscription with BBC Wildlife and 12 monthly issues set me back £38.00. When comparing both magazines, the National Geographic is in a league of its own and much cheaper.


              •[My Final Verdict]•

              The National Geographic magazine stems back years - a long history of tradition that continues to inspire and educate its readers geographically as well as a unique and rare insight on the animal kingdom. One of the key factors why this magazine is so good is that a team of experts will live amongst the natives , the animals & the environment in order to produce a top quality article no matter how long it takes - equipped with state of the art technology these group of individuals sure brings this magazine to life. This is a wonderful magazine of sheer escapism as well as hardened reality; it has the ability to open up new discoveries and findings that will leave you pondering for days.

              I have kept every issue since subscribing and my collection is starting to look quite impressive - I find that a month is perfect timing before my next issue arrives, giving me ample time to finish reading the main six to seven articles in the magazine. I take it to work or just keep a copy in my car until I have finished reading it. I will just high light some of the topics in question to give you an idea of the type of material published.

              •Armenia Reborn
              •Elephant Talk
              •African Lions
              •British Columbia's Outback
              •Pyramids of Egypt
              •China Bats
              •Tibetans
              •Afghanistan
              •Antarctica
              •South Africa
              •Harp Seals
              •Diamonds

              As you can see the above topics are very diverse and so the more reason this magazine will appeal to all walks of life and to many different age groups. So like the old saying goes the world is your oyster and National Geographic magazine encapsulates this to its maximum.


              Highly Recommend!!


              Thanks ……….. © Strood 2007 @12.30 26/10/07

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                02.03.2006 22:53
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                Take a look at our fantastic planet...

                Ah the National Geo…its been going a good hundred years and is showing no sign of letting up. It suffers from a slight case of Americanism, and also you find a lot of the people who read it tend to be pseudo-cultured muppets. Nonetheless it has fascinating articles and the photography is never less than absolutely stunning.


                What’s in the National Geo this month…

                Letter from the editor…nothing unusual.
                On screen and online…a rundown of what’s on the National Geo channel and the website.
                Behind the scenes…A quick look at a website, this month its Google Earth.
                Visions of Earth…a double page photograph, usually of the jaw-dropping variety. This month it’s a stunning picture of two penguins underwater.
                Forum…the letters page, for all the pseudo-intellectuals to write in about the mistakes made in last months issue.
                Geographica…a Spotlight on people, places or creatures. This month its “Farewell to Frogs”, an article about a mystery disease which seems to be wiping out the worlds amphibians…very cheerful.
                On assignment…a quick rundown on what’s in the issue this month, with nice pictures.


                Then we get on to the juicy stuff. National Geographic is a veritable mine of information. It produces articles on everything from the functions of the human skin to wildlife to people and places. It offers interesting insights into the lives of ordinary people on the other side of the globe, and iconic images which stay with you to your dying day. It offers an ever-so-slightly-to-the-left-of-George-Bush viewpoint in a very American way…although usually it sits on the political fence, so to speak.

                The cover article “Who’s Winning in Iraq” an article about the independent Kurdish people in the north of the country, and how they are the key to a united Iraq. Portrayed by the magazine as very moderate, politically and religiously speaking, especially when compared with the more rigid beliefs of the Sunnis and Shiites, the article begins with the photographers and journalists receiving death threats because of their association with the Kurds. Its an insightful and well-written article that lends us a bit of hope for Iraq.

                “Genocide and the Science of Proof” is a bit of a more difficult read, as you might guess from the title. Focussing on Saddam Hussein’s trial, it discusses different ways of gaining forensic evidence from the mass graves of the skeletons of murdered Iraqis. It also covers previous genocides such as the holocaust, and those in Rwanda and Kosovo. It also discusses why, despite the horrific atrocities of the past, this kind of thing seems to keep happening again, and the idea of diminished responsibility.

                “The Unexpected Canyon” is a stunning, mostly pictorial article on the Grand Canyon. Featuring an amazing double spread of winter mist over the canyon, contrasted nicely by a summer photograph with the usual image of parched red rock on the next page, it discusses the lives of those who used to live in the canyon itself. Mostly this one is worth viewing for the breathtaking photography.

                “Of Lynx and Men” is the obligatory monthly nice little story that makes you go “awwww”. This month it concerns the capture of Canadian Lynx for re-release into the Colorado Rockies, where the lynx have become extinct, leading to several problems. A fairy touching and sweet article about a rehabilitated lynx finding a boy lynx and making lots of cute little lynx…complete with lovely pictures of the furry felines themselves.

                Following this is a fascinating article on the Gods of the ancient Maya civilization. Charting the progress of an archaeological dig it gives us a cutaway view into one of the pyramids, it also discusses what is known of the faith of this ancient people, and photographs of the earliest preserved Mayan mural.

                “Last Days of the Ice Hunters” has to be my favourite of this months articles. It follows a band of men who live in Greenland and live in the traditional fashion of spending their winters on the sea ice hunting walruses with packs of half-wild, wolf like dogs. it’s a charming story about a custom preserved from ancient days and how the hunters are now having to cope with the effects of global warming, which is causing dangerously thin sea ice which the dogs have to navigate and the flooding of entire villages due to the rising sea level. It includes some fascinating information on polar bears and the Greenland dog who’s blood is incredibly pure (Greenland bans the import of other breeds of dog). It finishes with the chilling observation from one of the hunters…”When the day comes that we don’t get any ice, that day will be a disaster”.



                The articles are lengthy and well-written and fairly in-depth. The journalists provide a source of empathy, a camera view into another world and most articles are written in a fairly sensitive manner to other cultures. You do find an ever-so-slight pushing of American ideals such as the perceived improving of the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, however generally you find the magazine is fairly accepting of other viewpoints, although you will find the odd bit of disdain in their for a certain practise or culture. The journalism is usually insightful and deep, and pretty much all of the National Geo journalists have the ability to transport you to the other side of the globe in a few short, beautifully descriptive sentences. Sometimes the articles can be a little long-winded, and if you suffer from a short attention span, like me, you may find yourself looking at the photography for hours instead. Which is no bad thing.

                The main reason I buy National Geo is for the photography, which is, without exception, absolutely stunning. You can guarantee National Geo will have photography that makes your jaw drop each and every month. Penguins, deep sea monsters, beautiful scenery and wonderful faces from all over the globe, its what makes the magazine worth reading on the few occasions that the articles suck. To me National Geo has some of the best photographers ever on their staff, and now and then an iconic image comes out of the magazine that leaves an imprint lasting decades…the best example I can think of on this count is the 1984 Steve McCurry portrait of an orphaned Afghan refugee with brilliant green eyes that were at once terrified and ferocious…this is a face that has inspired millions in aid donations for refugees all over the world, and McCurry was still receiving daily letters asking about her when he finally found her again in Afghanistan in 2002, with all her youthful beauty erased but still with those smouldering eyes. I have yet to read an issue of the National Geo that has photography that was even average, let alone bad, and if you cant stand the journalism its still worth buying for this alone.

                The magazine provides quite a balance, its not all doom and gloom global warming and war tragedies, you find quite a lot of uplifting articles about the rebuilding of societies after war or the captive breeding programmes of rare species. it’s a good magazine for breaking preconceptions of cultures and people, it doesn’t aim to interview people at the top rung of the ladder, instead the everyday person who might live exotic lives, by our standards anyway. By no means is it a perfect magazine, but there is usually something of great interest to be found within its dinky pages every month, on the few occasions the journalism is patchy you can always count on the photography being superb.

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                  02.11.2004 10:42
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                  Voice of the CIA

                  Pics of naked people used to make it interesting. But in today's fascist, fundamentalist USA, naked pics are no longer allowed in the National Geographic.

                  The National Geographic appears to have become the mouthpiece of the CIA.

                  Just before 9 11, the National geographic was preparing maps and an article on Afghanistan.
                  If you want to know which countries the Pentagon is about to invade, look at the National Geographic.

                  The latest edition of the magazine, dated November 2004, has an article on the Geography of Terror. The article, written by Walter Laqueur who recently retired from the Kissinger Chair at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, seems full of obvious disinformation.

                  The article refers to a number of countries:

                  Ireland - the article fails to mention US financing of terror groups, and the allegation that most of the worst incidents were the work of the UK security services.

                  Europe - the article fails to mention the CIA links to the terror which hit Italy in the 1980s. Remember the bombs in railway stations that 'were the work of fascist groups with CIA connections'.

                  Indonesia - the article fails to mention (1) the CIA terror used to topple President Sukarno and then President Suharto (2) the US training of the generals who have been associated with terror in East Timor, the Spice Islands and elsewhere (3) the links between the US trained Indonesian military and 'Moslem' terror groups such as Laskar Jihad (4) the alleged involvement of the Indonesian military in the Bali bomb.

                  Palestine - the article does not make it clear that (1) the Palestinians were driven from their land by Jewish terrorist groups (2) the Israelis initially aided Hamas in order to weaken Arafat (3) the USA supports Israel in its occupation of Palestinian land and defiance of UN resolutions and in its possession of weapons of mass destruction.

                  Iraq - the article fails to mention the body of evidence that Saddam was a CIA agent and was put into power by the USA.

                  Al Qaeda - the article promotes the myth of al Qaeda. It fails to mention (1) the bin Laden links to the Bush family (2) bin Laden's Jewish mother (3) bin Laden's death in December 2001 (4) the controlled explosions that brought down the Twin Towers on 9 11 (5) the training of the alleged hijackers at US military bases.

                  The National Geographic is supposed to be about geography. But what do we get? We get endless stuff about:

                  Archaeology - particularly in the Mayan world.

                  History.

                  Biology - particularly fish and apes.

                  Astronomy

                  The articles are written in a strange style. The authors like to sound clever and literary but often they simply obscure the meaning of what they are trying to say.

                  The layout of text and photos also tries to be clever, but ends up being clumsy, like an american automobile.

                  Who advertises in the National Geographic? We get adverts for the sort of posh watches and posh cars which I could never afford.

                  Is the National Geographic worth buying? Just occasionally there is a mildly interesting article.





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                    08.01.2003 20:07
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                    I have just finished a 12-month subscription to this magazine and am left somewhat disappointed. The magazine covers a huge variety of subjects from the topical (Weapons of Mass Destruction, Global Warming, Al Quaeda) to the more extraordinary (a detailed look at Human Skin, The Shrinking of the Great Lakes, Canine Evolution). The photography is phenomenally good and each issue is packed full of pictures that you would want to frame. There is also often a well-designed poster pull out which deserves clearing a space on the table to look at properly. Over all, it’s a great publication for the whole family. It’s laid out in such a way that you can just flick through and look at the pictures and read the captions. You can dig a bit deeper and study some of the graphs and diagrams or you can go the whole hog and read the often lengthily articles. It’s a quality publication printed on good quality paper and well bound. It’s also a handy size for handbags/the bathroom shelf. So why am I disappointed? Unfortunately, the first article I read was about the Euro. It was written by an American, for an American audience and talked about Europe almost as a suburb of the US rather than a union with almost as much financial clout as the USA. I have found this theme of ambivalence to the rest of the world to be recurring in many articles, especially those that examine the role the USA plays in global affairs. Some of the journalists go to amazing places and discover remarkable things but often describe it as if they are stunned, not only that it exists, but that it is not American. Another article about emissions & global warming failed to mention that the USA is one of (if not the) largest polluters in the world. It’s a great magazine for broadening your horizons and seeing some amazing things that you wouldn’t want to miss but I’d take some of the journalism with a pin
                    ch of salt - it’s not the final word.

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                      12.07.2002 02:33
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                      I have subscribed to National Geographic Magazine since January 1996, and so I am in my seventh year of membership now. Joining National Geographic is easy. You can simply purchase a magazine from a larger newsagent, and there will be a coupon inside to allow you to subscribe. You may not be familiar with this magazine but some of you may recognise it from the distinctive yellow border on the front cover of every magazine and their AWESOME photography. To subscribe in the UK, simply write to National Geographic, PO Box 19, Guildford, Surrey, GU3 3NY. Subscription currently costs £29 for twelve issues delivered to your door. I am not sure what the shop price is for a single copy, as my copies are not marked up with the price. In the USA, you can subscribe for $34 by following the links from the internet site www.nationalgeographic.com. If you are wondering how I have managed to keep 84 editions in some sort of order, you can also purchase attractive NG Magazine holders, each holding six issues. However 84 issues on the top shelf of my book case are causing it to bow a little, and I will have to make the effort and move them to the base fairly soon! National Geographic is just one of the publications from the National Geographic Society, which was formed in 1888. It is the world?s largest non profit society dedicated to science and education. They also publish books, and have shops in some countries, such as Australia. Each magazine is about 120 pages in length, and contains about six or seven features. National Geographic researches and journalists certainly get to some remote parts of the world, and the stories that they bring back, together with their photographs are fascinating. Every two or three issues, there is also a A1-size pull out publication, the most recent one being dedicated to the Incas and Macchu Picchu in South America. I will give you a run down of January 2002 Issue to give you a flavour of the brea
                      dth and depth of the contents. Forum -------- Each edition begins with a Letters Section, which typically consists of three or four pages of letters from readers in response to previous issues. Usually, a previous story or edition would be highlighted and all the letters would relate to that story, reflecting different sides to a debate or argument. Articles ---------- 1. Seabirds. This was a two page spread detailing information and great photography relating to the half a million nesting seabirds on Barren Islands, Alaska. 2. Syrian Tomb. This article details the discovery of a three layered tomb in the lost city of Tuba, Syria. The tomb is 4300 years old and contained two women and two babies, on the top level, and two men below. We are shown an artists impression of how the scene would have looked at the time of the burial. 3. Behind the Scenes looks at some of the people involved in the making of articles for the magazine. 4. Ask Us, is a page dedicated to answering questions which members require answers to. For example one reader asks whether it is true that Mt Everest is not the highest mountain if you measure from the centre of the Earth. (Answer, Correct, Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is 2km ?higher? when measured this way) 5. The first main article in the January magazine is dedicated to the Dog ? in particular their evolution from Wolf to the domesticated breeds of today. The story looks at the remains of dogs first discovered with human remains, and the differences in the bone structures. The story also looks at how dogs moved across the world?s continents beginning 37 million years ago in America and reaching Europe 7 million years ago. We also delve into the lives of a variety of dog owners today, including the Crufts Dog show, a sheep farmer in the Highlands, a spoilt Maltese in Manhattan, and guide dogs. We also look at the use of search and rescue dogs involved in the September 11 disaster. 6. T
                      he next main article is looking at the Euro and cohesion in Europe in general, a very fitting topic, for the January 2002 edition. We look at the balance of trade and the GDP for the member countries. Once again the article focuses in on individuals in the member countries, and the similarities and diversities of these countries. 7. We then move to an article about China?s Alashan Desert Plateau where people rely on camels for transportation and daily life is similar to the Mongol herdsmen of centuries ago. The monastery used to house 80 monks but now, as the population is aging and dwindling, there is just one left. The photography is truly amazing. Again we are able to discover the daily lives of individuals who live in this area, in their mud brick houses. 8. Another key article is about Islam which is the fastest growing religion on earth, with one fifth of the world?s population. There is a pullout map with a key to the percentage of the population of each country who are Muslim, together with an in-depth look at some countries and the faith in general. This year so far, the main articles have covered: Antarctica, Aids, Reefs, Etna, Salt Lake Valley, Central Asia, Diamonds, Arctic, Danube, Bears, Greek Shipwreck, Tibetans, Lions, Lewis and Clark, China, Bats, The Inca, Food, Moths, Mummies, Po River, Chicago, D Day, Jamestown, Afghanistan, Andes, Iowa. And that is just the main topics in six issues, phew! I love this magazine, and I am loathe to throw a single one away, or worse still cancel my subscription, although I know I cannot keep them for ever! Learning about different cultures and seeing different parts of the world is always fascinating, and this is blended well with articles about places and people who we in the Western World are more familiar with. It is a magazine for dipping into now and again, I rarely read each new issue cover to cover, but I always skim through them to admire the photography and read the articl
                      es which attract me the most. I believe I have widened my own knowledge immensely in the time that I have been receiving this magazine and if I had about a year to spare, I could truly get stuck into my reading and learn even more. I highly recommend this magazine to you, and it could be a great gift for someone you know who enjoys Science, Nature, Culture and Geography. Helen Bradshaw July 2002

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                        29.06.2001 05:44
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                        The National Geographic is the only magazine I have remained subscribed to for more than one year and is worth every single penny I have put towards it. It often includes maps and other loose pages that give plans or explain complicated ideas. The fabulous (and well known) pictures to take up a large proportion of the pages, but say more than a million words could. The National Geographic has some of the best photographic journalists in the world! Often spending many years in an area making sure the pictures accurately tell the story. The details of animals and places that you can see in the pictures are unbelievable. As for the photos of people, the emotions that have been captured on film are unbelievable. Although the National Geographic features the USA very heavily, it does cover stories from across the world. Some of the membership fees go towards funding exploration expeditions that are then reported in the magazine. It is a wonderful magazine everyone should read it!

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                        09.08.2000 18:53
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                        This is the greatest nature magazine that I have ever read. I normally read or browse this magazine in library. All the pictures taken in the National Geography are perfect, which can give you a great chance to have a closer look at the nature creatures. In addition, it can give you an insight to the angers of mother nature, such as volcano, hurricane, earthquake and so forth. The nature creatures discussed in the National Geography with great and detailed pictures range from the microscopic creatures to the greatest animal. I always like documentary TV programmes especially those that talk about the nature, about the earth and about the universe. This magazine just like a still documentary TV programmes. The photographers, authors, and editors really make this magazine the best.

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                          07.07.2000 00:33
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                          National Geogrphic is a magazine of over a hundred years that has accumulated mountains of knowledge be it sociology, biology, science, zoology, archeology, earth science, travel and so on. National Geographic not only contains valueable researches, experiences and knowledge, it consists of many profesional breath-taking photographs. Further more, every page is a quality print. It is worth to collect, too. I am a member of National Geographic for a few years. It not only widens my horizon, my English has actually improved! The price is barely about the price of 2 pints of beer. Why not invest on this marvelous magazines each month instead of get yourself drunk for almost the same amount of money? Besides, the money will go to the society research fund.

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                      • Product Details

                        The official journal of the National Geographic Society Washington D.C.