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National Geographic on the Power of Photography


Today photography has become a global cacophony of freeze-frames. Millions of pictures are uploaded every minute. Correspondingly, everyone is a subject, and knows it—any day now we will be adding the unguarded moment to the endangered species list. It’s on this hyper-egalitarian, quasi-Orwellian, all-too-camera-ready “terra infirma” that National Geographic’s photographers continue to stand out…

McCurry shot his immortal portrait well before the proliferation of the Internet and the invention of the smartphone. In a world seemingly benumbed by a daily avalanche of images, could those eyes still cut through the clutter and tell us something urgent about ourselves and about the imperiled beauty of the world we inhabit? I think the question answers itself.