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

  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Groped

    2
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Robbed

    13
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Falls

    12
  • Groped

    9
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Giardia

    8
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Beaten

    3
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Hypothermia

    9