The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Robbed

    5
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Groped

    9
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Burns

    4
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Robbed

    13
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Beaten

    3
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Falls

    12
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Giardia

    8
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Malaria

    5