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

  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Giardia

    8
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Beaten

    3
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Malaria

    5
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Burns

    4
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Groped

    2
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Robbed

    5
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Groped

    9
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

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

    2
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1