Thursday, October 12, 2017

Retrospective of National Geographic Photographer’s Groundbreaking Work, ‘Wild: Michael Nichols,’ Opens at National Geographic Museum Today

From our friends at National Geographic Live...

Features Extraordinary Images of Wildlife and Wild Places Through the Eyes of Legendary Photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols 

Photography has been an indispensable tool in National Geographic’s nearly 130-year history of advancing global understanding and inspiring solutions for the greater good. A new exhibition, “Wild: Michael Nichols,” opening at the National Geographic Museum on October 12, exemplifies the profound impact of visual storytelling, with stunning images of wildlife and wild places through the eyes of legendary National Geographic photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols. Organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition will be on display at the National Geographic Museum through January 15, 2018.

Visitors will travel to the more remote reaches of the globe through Nichols’ stunning, evocative, and technically innovative photos of our natural world. “Wild: Michael Nichols” is the first major exhibition of Nichols’ work, showcasing his more than 25-year career with National Geographic as one of the world’s leading photographers. Keenly interested in the conservation of wildlife habitat, Nichols has collaborated with scientists on groundbreaking projects about great apes, elephants, and big cats, as well as the landscapes of Africa’s Congo Basin and the American West. Nichols has spent more than half of his life photographing African animals and has produced more than 25 stories for National Geographic magazine, including “Orphans No More,” the final chapter of his 20 years documenting the emotions and intelligence of elephants.

“‘Wild’ is all about respect for the natural world,” said Nichols. “I’m delighted to see the exhibition opening at National Geographic, a magazine I grew up aspiring to work for. My dreams became reality as a mature photographer, when I spent more than 25 years of my career at the magazine focusing on stories about the natural world. National Geographic provided me with the time, resources and global reach to truly have some effect over how we humans view and interact with what I call the ‘Wild.’”

In this in-depth survey, Nichols’ photographs reveal the enduring importance of the wild—those parts of our world that remain untouched by humankind. An NGS-produced video provides a brief biography of Nichols’ life and career, highlighting several of his most memorable assignments and taking the visitor into the field with this intrepid explorer.

Nichols has always approached the photographing of his subjects with great imagination, using innovative camera trap work and other technology in service of his goal: to photograph the wild without disturbing it, a strategy he calls “not being there.” However he captures his subjects, Nichols insists on being transparent about his methods so that viewers may understand the process.

“Wild” is organized around two themes that have preoccupied Nichols throughout his career and that form the titles for two of his book projects, “Brutal Kinship” (1999) and “The Last Place on Earth” (2005). In “Brutal Kinship,” Nichols and primatologist and National Geographic Explorer Jane Goodall explore the relationship between humans and chimpanzees documenting chimps in captivity, in sanctuaries, and in the wild. The book argues that our complex dealings with chimps offer a framework for understanding our interactions with wild animals and places. In “The Last Place on Earth,” Nichols documented scientist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay’s trek across the Congo Basin—the largest untouched area on the planet—recording its rich biodiversity. An image of surfing hippos in Gabon from “The Last Place on Earth” was included in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential Images of All Time” and is among the photographs on view in the exhibition.

“Nick is a gifted journalist and storyteller, a fearless explorer, a photographer’s photographer and, above all, a passionate advocate for the world’s last wild places,” said National Geographic’s vice president of Exhibitions, Kathryn Keane.” He has spent four decades demonstrating why the power of photography is at the core of National Geographic’s mission. This exhibition gives us an opportunity to celebrate his career and a powerful legacy that is all about inspiration and impact.”

Prior to opening at the National Geographic Museum, “Wild” was on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it was curated by Peter Barberie, The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Melissa Harris, author and independent curator. The presentation in Philadelphia included Nichols’s photographs presented along with paintings, sculpture, and other media selected from the museum’s collection to demonstrate the enduring importance of the wild.

The National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC, is open every day (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 10 AM to 6 PM.

Public Events:
Nichols will give a behind-the-scenes look at his work during a talk on Friday, October 13, 2017, at 7:30 PM and the exhibition will remain open until 7:15 PM on this date. Tickets are $25. For more information, please see here. In a special Student Matinee, students in grades 5-8 will learn about the fascinating ways Nichols uses his camera to create unforgettable and engaging images, and why we should all care about the wildlife and wild places he photographs. For more information on National Geographic’s student matinees, please see here.

About Michael Nichols:
Michael “Nick” Nichols is an award-winning photographer who has consistently broken new ground in photography, using innovative techniques that show us the world and capture our imagination in new and exciting ways. Dubbed “The Indiana Jones of Photography” by France’s Photo magazine, Nick has been featured in Rolling Stone, Life, Aperture, American Photographer, and many other magazines. Nick was a staff photographer for National Geographic magazine from 1996 to 2007, served as the magazine’s editor at large from 2007 to 2014, and was its editor at large for photography from 2014 to 2015. He’s published several books full of his memorable photographs, including “Last Place on Earth,” “Brutal Kinship,” and “Earth to Sky;” a visual biography of his life and work, “A Wild Life” by Melissa Harris, was released in June 2017.

About the National Geographic Society:
The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. Through our grants and programs, we aspire to create a community of change, advancing key insights about our planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Our goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit