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

  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Robbed

    13
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Malaria

    5
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Robbed

    5
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Burns

    4
  • Extreme Toxins

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

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Giardia

    8
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29