National Geographic Stunning Photographs by Annie Griffiths - Review / by Todd Henson

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 Cover of the book,   National Geographic Stunning Photographs  , by Annie Griffiths

Cover of the book, National Geographic Stunning Photographs, by Annie Griffiths

National Geographic’s Stunning Photographs is an appropriately titled book. In its 400 pages you’ll find a large collection of stunning photographs created by National Geographic photographers.

A stunning image is one that makes the viewer halt, look again, and connect on an emotional level.
— Annie Griffiths

In Stunning Photographs the emphasis is on the photography, but each section of the book is preceded by an introduction written by Annie Griffiths, who is also a National Geographic photographer. I dislike how the introductions are laid out, with paragraphs blending into one another, but I think they are worth reading.

The book is separated into themed sections, with the introduction and all the photographs in that section matching the theme in some way. And as with the National Geographic magazine there is a very wide range to the photographs, both in subject and style. One thing they all have in common is that they are excellent photographs.

Mystery

 Pages 54-55 of   Stunning Photographs  , in the section titled:  Mystery .

Pages 54-55 of Stunning Photographs, in the section titled: Mystery.

Other photographs are imbued with atmosphere or mystery that haunts us long after we first see them.
— Annie Griffiths

These are photos we ask questions about. What are we looking at? Who is that person and what are they doing? Is that a snake in the sand? Or thousands of fireflies illuminating a forest, as in the photo above by Tsuneaki Hiramatsu created near Okayama, Japan?

Harmony

 Pages 100-101 of   Stunning Photographs  , in the section titled:  Harmony

Pages 100-101 of Stunning Photographs, in the section titled: Harmony

There is a balance beyond symmetry that silently elevates the subject of the photograph.
— Annie Griffiths

Harmony implies a sense of balance, perhaps of color, or symmetry, or placement of subject within the frame. You look at the photo and it just feels right. Many of these are very peaceful or contemplative images. The photo above, created by David Clapp, is of a still pond and autumn color in Grasmere, England.

Wit

 Pages 176-177 of   Stunning Photographs  , in the section titled:  Wit

Pages 176-177 of Stunning Photographs, in the section titled: Wit

There are witty images that surprise and delight, as the familiar is translated into something fresh and remarkable.
— Annie Griffiths

Many of these images will bring a smile to your face. Sometimes the scene, itself, is humorous. Other times it’s an interesting juxtoposition of elements. But wit can also by informative, as in the example above of a half-shorn sheep in Victoria, Australia. The image was created by Cary Wolinsky who wanted to show how much wool a sheep grows in a season.

Discovery

 Pages 234-235 of   Stunning Photographs  , in the section titled:  Discovery

Pages 234-235 of Stunning Photographs, in the section titled: Discovery

Discovery is one part curiosity, one part genius, and two parts tenacity.
— Annie Griffiths

This is what National Geographic has always done so well. Taking us someplace new. Showing us a scene we’ve never seen before. Portraying a creature or person in a way that wakes us up to the fact there is still so much to see in the world. The image above, created by Christian Klepp, is an ice cave in Iceland that looks almost otherworldly.

Energy

 Pages 292-293 of   Stunning Photographs  , in the section titled:  Energy

Pages 292-293 of Stunning Photographs, in the section titled: Energy

These are the OMG images that quicken the pulse with the physics of fantastic.
— Annie Griffiths

Here we get to experience what it might look like to be underfoot dozens of galloping horses. We see storms, fire, wind, crashing waves. We see movement and action. Mitch Dobrowner created the image above, of a tornado in Regan, North Dakota.

Intimacy

 Pages 394-395 of   Stunning Photographs  , in the section titled:  Intimacy

Pages 394-395 of Stunning Photographs, in the section titled: Intimacy

Some photographs are so intimate that they take our breath away or move us to tears.
— Annie Griffiths

Many of these images are peaceful, tranquil, like the image above of polar bears in Wapusk National Park, Canada, created by Jenny E. Ross. We can find something touching in the image, something human, even if there are no people in the frame.

From a technical perspective, the book is just over 10 inches square and over 1 inch thick. Some of the photographs fully span 2 pages, while the rest span most of the 2 pages but leave enough room for a quote from a photographer and information on the photographs, such as the photographer, location, and a brief description.

National Geographic Stunning Photographs is the type of book I love to own as an endless source of inspiration. Seek out a copy. Perhaps you will also find inspiration in its pages.