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

  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Beaten

    3
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Falls

    12
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Robbed

    13
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Robbed

    5
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Groped

    9
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Giardia

    8
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1