My First National Geographic Society Assignment—By Rick Etkin
At one point in every photographers career you will have a dream to be able to shoot for the National Geographic Society.
As an organization, the mission of the National Geographic Society is to inspire people to care about the planet. Throughout its 126-year history, it has encouraged conservation of natural resources and raised public awareness of the importance of natural places, the plants and wildlife that inhabit them and the environmental problems that threaten them. The Society also encourages stewardship of the planet through research and exploration, and through education.
Through their many media and communication channels, they reach an astounding 500 million people every month.
So you can imagine my response when a friend and client called and left a message asking if I would be interested in shooting for National Geographic. Like a very fast shutter speed with no delay of course I said yes!
The Society has been hosting a series of workshops and think-tanks around the world on the issues of energy and the future called “The Great Energy Challenge” and Vancouver became a focus for a very timely discussion about natural gas and its role in the world’s energy future. The event, held just prior to the Globe2014 conference on the environment brought many industry and environmental leaders along with academics and other stakeholders into one room to discuss the future of natural gas and how it impacts on the environment, economies and our way of life.
I was asked by the National Geographic organizing team to attend and photograph the discussions for use on their blog, printed reports and communication pieces. It may not be what most people would think of me shooting and although it wasn’t for the Magazine with months in the arctic waiting for perfect light and polar bears, it was my first assignment for National Geographic and it is already online with my credit as photographer.
I felt extremely fortunate to be able to part of this important dialogue about energy and would like to think that there are other Nat Geo assignments in my future, time will tell.