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

  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Robbed

    5
  • Beaten

    3
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Robbed

    13
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Falls

    12
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Malaria

    5
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Giardia

    8
  • Groped

    9
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1