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

  • Malaria

    5
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Giardia

    8
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Robbed

    13
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Beaten

    3
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Groped

    9
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Falls

    12