National Geographic Brings 6 Revealing Stories of Photographers To Hulu & Disney+

I have seen a TON of docs of photographers, and honestly, most of them concentrate on the image, and leave the stories of the heart, soul, and origins of the photographers behind.
Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the process of the making of an image.
To me, knowing how the photographer got to the image and their personal journey is just as important.
Starting on March 18th, dropping on Hulu and Disney +, is a new series called Photographer, from National Geographic.

6 separate documentaries on some of the best photographers today.

From AcademyⓇ and EmmyⓇ Award-winning filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, from Free Solo, you get a full picture, pardon me, of the artist behind their journey. With 8 incredible directors, they have brought an important series to the public about some of the finest Nat Geo photographers, told by some of the best documentary filmmakers I’ve seen.
Too much hyperbole? It’s all warranted.
You know the quality of Nat Geo, and these do not disappoint.
I had the pleasure of catching up with one of my favorites Dan Winters, while he was taking a break from a personal shoot in Omaha, with trains.

Photographer Dan Winters. (credit: Travis Smith)

If you know Dan from his portraits of celebrities, politicians, you may not know about the full range of his work.

President Barack Obama photographed at the White House in 2016 shortly before leaving office.(Dan Winters)

While you travel with Dan on a few photographic journeys, his history is woven throughout by him, bringing a further richness to the totality.

There are 2 scenarios covered in the doc, that are true standouts for me.
And they are not the commercial ones.
As a child his father influenced his love of ships, and that carried him through an almost Moby Dick search for the perfect visual story of the people who work on the docks, and shipwrecks.
What you will see is how he approaches the workers, and creates portraits in their environment, and almost most importantly, how he deals with the subjects, and an overall way of dealing with people brings insight into how he works and who he is. He was a guest in their world.

Two shipyard workers peer out from a ship propeller in the Dhaka ship-repair yard. (credit: Dan Winters)

There is another series that touched home for me, and you may find incredibly relatable.
Every parent, who is a photographer, has photographed their children to the nth degree, me included.
There is a scene where his son is looking at a wall, covered with images of him through the years.
One of his comments is that he sometimes felt that he was a subject, and just wanted to be a kid.

It is a very emotional scene as Dan and his son, go through the truth of a loved family member confronting reactions to a lifetime of being photographed.

Does that ring true with anyone out there? Yeah, me too.

One of Winters’ favorite quotes is from Jay Maisel: “If you want to make more interesting pictures, become a more interesting person”. 100%

I’m relating that part of the doc to illustrate the depth that this series brings to you.
Deeper than “how the shot was made”, you’ll see a full portrait.
Here’s another confession: I wanted to do an interview with Dan years ago, but this doc is so well made, that thought is out of my head.
What I did walk away with from this film was portrait of an artist, and how he got to where he is now.
With his wife/partner Kate, and his son Dylan this a full exploration of a passionate, brilliant photographer.
At about an hour, this is a definite film you should see.
Along with all his many books of photographs, he also wrote the Road to Seeing, which is thick and rich book of the journey, appropriate for aspiring and experienced photographers.

Here are a few of his books, and his website

Perhaps the biographical component of these docs will bring in a wider audience, and I hope so.

The artist in the series are:
Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittemeier
Anand Varma
Krystle Wright
Muhammad Muheisen
Campbell Addy
And of course, Dan Winters

Of course, we must recognize the directors behind the series, who have brought each of the photographers’ stories to life:
Starting with the insightful vision of award-winning duo E. Chai Vasarhelyiand Jimmy Chin (“Free Solo”) to the skilled direction of Marshall Curry (“Racing Dreams”), Pagan Harleman (“The Trade”), Crystal Kayiza (“Rest Stop”), Sam Pollard (“MLK/FBI”), Kristi Jacobson (“Solidarity”) and Rita Baghdadi (“Sirens”).
The editors, and the rest of the production teams deserve high praise for the work.
You will see it all on the screen.

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