The Secret of Great Photography: “Getting Access” | Nat Geo Live


While I was living
in India, the biggest door of my
career opened. I pitched a story to
National Geographic,
and it was to go and tell the
story about the last, hand-pulled rickshaw pullers.
Who were living in Calcutta. Word was that they were going
to ban the whole mode of transportation there. So, they accepted my proposal.
Off I went. Get to Calcutta. Great! I’ve got my first
big assignment. Guess what? All the rickshaw pullers said, “No thank you. We don’t want
our pictures taken.” And that’s the truth, you know,
I think a lot of people think, Oh, if you work for
National Geographic,
the doors just come
flying open. Nope, not always the case. So I’m thinking,
“What do I do?” I’ve got to get access, and that is the secret
of great photography, is just getting access.So, I found the leader of the
rickshaw union.
His name was, Subir. I told him
why I wanted to tell this story. And he started introducing
me to people.And I also would take portraits
of these men,
and go to a one-hour photo
place, get them printed,
and run around Calcutta,
giving them pictures.
And you know, to these men,
they’ve never had– some of them didn’t
even have shoes, and so to have a portrait was
really somethingfor them to hang up in these
small quarters,
was really meaningful to them.And it took time and patience,
and slowly, they started opening up,
and sharing their lives with me.

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23 thoughts on “The Secret of Great Photography: “Getting Access” | Nat Geo Live

  1. if someone does not want to be photographed, and you go ahead and do it anyway, ''to get the story''…isn't that a violation of respect? you negate the wishes of another person for your own personal gain? ''I do not want my photo taken'' seems easy enough to understand…unless you're driven by the greed to get paid for your ''story''
    it even sounds like an act of theft.
    Have Their Picture Taken.
    perhaps not everyone wants to be a global media star.

  2. She's amazed at all the work they do she's never seen a day of work in her life holding a camera. What a useless "profession" If people don't want their photos taken you should respect that. Nat geo showing a new low on how to push their agenda on innocent hard working people… go figure!

  3. "What do I do? I need to be able to cash in on their suffering, I mean, I have to annoy them. And that is the secret of great photography, it's just invading their privacy space. Some of them didn't even have shoes, so I bought them a portrait. Isn't that great?"

  4. Why is everyone in the comment section being so mean? She got permission from them to take their photos, and she is helping them by telling their story, and people becoming aware and donating to charity to help them. This is the whole point of journalism and those wateraid adverts you see on tv. If you don't like her or her profession then don't watch the video. Why are you acting like you're donating to them when half of you had probably never heard of them before this

  5. National geographic the place where can document poverty but not drop a dime on them. Your basically tmz in 3world countries …unless u help them

  6. Sometimes I don't understand the commend sections.

    They didn't want their photos taken. She then goes and asks for permission from the most superior person there, and that person says yes. In return, she gives them theses beautiful photos as a way of thanks.

    Because they said they didn't want their photos taken she respected that and asked permission from a superior.

    Commend sections am i right?

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