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

  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Falls

    12
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Burns

    4
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Groped

    9
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Giardia

    8
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Held at Gunpoint

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

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1