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

  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Malaria

    5
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Groped

    2
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Falls

    12
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

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

    2
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Robbed

    13