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  • December 26, 2014

Pictures We Love: Taking a Closer Look

Author
Jessie Wender

At National Geographic, photography is what holds our stories together and what makes them shine. It’s what we do the best and love the most. Our photo editors work with thousands of images every year (if not every day) and so we asked each of them—editors from National Geographic Magazine, News, Traveler, Your Shot, and Proof—to share one picture that stood out for them in 2014. We didn’t ask them to talk about the “best” photo, but the one that resonated with them the most. Over the coming days, we’ll bring you their personal reflections and share the heart of what we’ve been up to this year.

A megaphone-brandishing census taker hails occupants of the Deer Island lighthouse in Boston, Massachusetts.
A megaphone-brandishing census taker hails occupants of the Deer Island lighthouse in Boston, Massachusetts.
“In the Loupe,” October 2014
Photograph by UPI/National Geographic Creative
Jessie Wender, Senior Photo Editor, National Geographic Magazine

Four months ago, before I started working at National Geographic, I would have picked a different photograph as my favorite from the past year. But now that I know the process behind each image, feature, and section, I selected this archival picture from “In the Loupe,” which appeared in the October issue of the magazine.

One of my favorite parts of my job is spending an hour each week in the National Geographic archive with Bill Bonner. Bill Bonner is the Society’s archivist, who for thirty-two years has been preserving, organizing, and archiving photographs from National Geographic’s one hundred and twenty-six year history. In his daily research, Bill studies these photographs, holding a loupe up to inspect each image. Despite their age, many of these images are still incredibly sharp. Sharp enough, it turns out, to hold hidden details, invisible to the naked eye, but revealed by the loupe. What a beautiful surprise–to look at a photograph, see it one way, and then to look closer and reveal hidden images that expose a deeper meaning.

With the help of a magnifying loupe, this detail of a man listening to the census taker through a megaphone is revealed.
With the help of a magnifying loupe, this detail of a man listening to the census taker through a megaphone is revealed.
Photograph by UPI/National Geographic Creative

These photographs are treasures, a visual history that National Geographic photographers continue to build on with each story and frame. One hundred years from now, I hope we will look with the same studious interest at the images we are currently producing, with close enough care to help us understand a world that existed decades before we were born and miles from where we lived.

*****
Browse more of our favorite images from 2014 in these related “Pictures We Love” posts:

There are 11 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. thomas smith
    January 12, 2015

    Seeing is believing ! Nat’l Geog both shows & tells me what the world is about

  2. Finn Jensen
    January 12, 2015

    The outstanding Picturequality promotes NGM in the very best way.

  3. Ken
    January 11, 2015

    National Geographic continues to be the photographic historian of the world. Keep it up.

  4. bob jones
    January 3, 2015

    Your collection inspires me to renew my interest in photographing since I gave up my career in it years ago.

  5. March
    January 1, 2015

    For years, when I receive my mag, I always turn to the last page. Every month history comes alive! Love to see more!

  6. John Stanmeyer
    December 31, 2014

    The brilliance of humanity, the reflection of our sense of time, all captured in this image. Excellent find, Jesse.

  7. Sara Parker
    December 28, 2014

    The photography could tell the tales by themselves! Been a fan for 50+ years.

  8. SAMUEL SHAHAR
    December 27, 2014

    very interesting

  9. Jason Schack
    December 26, 2014

    As a photographer, I am amazed each month when my copy of National Geographic arrives. I an inspired by all the photographers and their photos. Great work and thank you all for your hard work and dedication.

  10. fran McHugh
    December 26, 2014

    love to see more

  11. judi
    December 26, 2014

    Love this story. What an interesting job – archivist for National Geographic!

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