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

  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Falls

    12
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Burns

    4
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

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

    2
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Beaten

    3
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Robbed

    5
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1