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

  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Groped

    9
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

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

    2
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Falls

    12
  • Burns

    4
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Robbed

    13
  • Beaten

    3
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1