National Geographic Unveils ‘Photographer,’ a Captivating New Series by Award-Winning Filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

Cristina Mittermeier swims along the surface of the water looking through her camera lens. (National Geographic)

Cristina Mittermeier swims along the surface of the water looking through her camera lens. (National Geographic)

Johannesburg, 7 March 2024 – National Geographic presents an unprecedented six-part docuseries, PHOTOGRAPHER, from award-winning filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. This series will premiere on National Geographic (DSTV 181, StarSat 220) on Wednesdays at 21:00 (CAT) from 20 March 2024.

PHOTOGRAPHER takes us on a journey with the world’s most extraordinary visual storytellers, pairing them with today’s leading documentary filmmakers for an exhilarating and dynamic international adventure. Each hour-long episode follows the story of an iconic photographer —  Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen, Dan Winters, Campbell Addy, Krystle Wright, Muhammed Muheisen, and Anand Varma — while they work to make iconic images that stand the test of time. Through vérité footage of their current mission interwoven with interviews and archived footage, viewers will gain a deeper understanding of each photographer’s process, learn how they became an artist, and discover how they see and experience the world.

Along with the release of the trailer, National Geographic also announced today the names of the eight esteemed directors who have masterfully brought each of the photographers’ stories to life. From the insightful vision of award-winning duo E. Chai Vasarhelyi and 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 (“Solitary”) and Rita Baghdadi (“Sirens”), each episode is a collaborative and visually stunning adventure that invites viewers into a captivating world where every frame tells an inspiring and evocative story.

PHOTOGRAPHER is a testament to National Geographic’s commitment to delivering groundbreaking narratives that spark curiosity, leaving a lasting impact on our viewers,” said Tom McDonald, executive vice president, Global Factual and Unscripted Content. “The intentional pairing of these visionary directors with each respective photographer captures the essence of their creativity and showcases the extraordinary lengths they go to redefine the boundaries of visual storytelling.”

For over 135 years, National Geographic has built a storied legacy in visual storytelling, showing an interconnected world through the work of thousands of renowned photographers. With millions of images moving at a rapid clip across news and social media daily, it can be difficult to focus on a singular picture that captures one moment more than any other. This is precisely what these photographers do — they use the power of visual storytelling to capture life in motion, showing us the world in entirely new and unprecedented ways. This series will masterfully delve into the nuances of the craft of photography while staying rooted in universal themes through a personal lens. PHOTOGRAPHER transcends the genre of photography shows to take a deep dive into the forces that drive these obsessive photographers on their quests for visual perfection.

Episodes include:

“Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen) & Cristina Mittermeier (@mitty): Win or Die”

Directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi (@chaivasarhelyi) and Jimmy Chin (@jimmychin)

Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier are two of the world’s most iconic working ocean photographers, and they also happen to be partners in both their personal and professional lives. Nicklen grew up with the Inuit in the Canadian Arctic and worked as a biologist in the Northwest Territories before specializing in photographing the polar regions. Born in Mexico City, Mittermeier started out as a marine biologist and now works as a writer, conservationist and photographer, immersing herself in diverse cultures and environments worldwide. They are both sought-after thought leaders at the forefront of ocean conservation. Together, this remarkable duo aims to raise awareness through their art and nonprofit organization, SeaLegacy, which creates strategies and content to move audiences into action through visual storytelling. In this episode, we follow them as they travel by boat to the Bahamas to take on oil drilling and document the recently discovered seagrass beds there. Using their photographs, family archival materials and behind-the-scenes footage of their expeditions, this episode provides a compelling look at their present-day mission to travel the world’s oceans, risking life and limb to create change and inspire people everywhere.

Cristina Mittermeier taking photographs in the open ocean. (National Geographic)

“Anand Varma (@anandavarma): Hidden Wonders”

Directed by Marshall Curry (@marshallcurry)

Fascinated by the natural world, Varma grew up dreaming that he would become a scientist like his father. But while studying marine biology at Berkeley, Varma seized an opportunity to leave school to work as a camera assistant and has never looked back. An ingenious and profound soul who is endlessly enthusiastic about all things “icky,” he masterfully navigates the intersection of science and art, accomplishing the nearly impossible feat of making high-brow geeky science accessible through his innovative approach. Varma is currently working on a series about metamorphosis, which focuses on capturing the developmental process of a chicken embryo as it’s forming and hatching. This episode reveals an inside look at his working style as he attempts to deliver yet another groundbreaking innovation in photography.

“Dan Winters (@danwintersphoto): Life is once. Forever.”

Directed by Pagan Harleman (IMDb)

Dan Winters is arguably one of the most versatile, celebrated and renowned photographers working today, widely known for his unusual and iconic portraits of celebrities, scientific work, street photography, illustrations and capturing the “hallowed grounds” of NASA. He is a National Geographic Explorer and has won over 100 national and international awards from World Press Photo, American Photography, SIPA, Communication Arts, Society of Publication Designers, LIFE Magazine, and the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography, among others. While Dan has reached the pinnacle of photography with the help of his wife and manager, Kathryn, he now feels, at times, he neglected his family. As we travel with Winters to Kennedy Space Center, Iceland and Bangladesh, working to make iconic images and chase a childhood memory, he reflects that sometimes, the most important moments are found not halfway around the world behind a camera but back at home.

“Campbell Addy (@campbelladdy): Feeling Seen”

Directed by Crystal Kayiza (@crystalkayiza) and Sam Pollard (IMDb)

Heavily sought after (he just shot Meghan Markle and Megan Thee Stallion for NY Mag, Lizzo for Vanity Fair, and Naomi Campbell for Vogue), British Ghanaian Campbell Addy is the fashion photographer of the moment and at a pivotal place in his career. His talents as an image maker have launched him into the fashion stratosphere and landed him on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, but his newfound fame and success also present challenges. Concerned about selling out or becoming a “brand,” Addy recently changed agencies and decided to refocus his career on reclaiming his purpose, which is, first and foremost, to express his vision, expand his art and make images that allow people of color and queer-identifying feel seen and empowered. Audiences will journey with Addy and his crew of artists and stylists as he works to make epic imagery for his first solo art show in London and navigates how to lay the foundation for a long-term career without compromising his health or integrity.

Campbell Addy behind the camera taking photos.  (credit: National Geographic)
Campbell Addy behind the camera taking photos. (credit: National Geographic)

“Krystle Wright (@krystlejwright): Heart Explosions”

Directed by Kristi Jacobson (IMDb)

Krystle Wright is at a critical moment in her life and her career. After over a decade of traveling the world and shooting some of the most awe-inspiring extreme sports stunts ever attempted, she has become a highly sought-after photographer in the heavily male-dominated world of adventure photography. Wright’s assignments have covered all seven continents in over 55 countries, ranging from the Australian outback to Pakistan and Antarctica. Her images have been published in National Geographic magazine, and her work has also appeared in Outside magazine, The Times, GQ, Red Bulletin, and The Guardian. But after an unexpected medical emergency and the pandemic forced her to spend two years at home in Australia, she’s reentering this high-stakes industry to chase tornados in the American southwest, make an epic image in Moab, and explore whether this adrenalized life is still the best outlet for her creativity.

Photographer Krystle Wright takes stationary images of her lighting design on a Long Canyon cliff face. (National Geographic/Pablo Durana)

“Muhammed Muheisen (@mmuheisen): Finding the Light”

Directed by Rita Baghdadi (IMDb)

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, National Geographic photojournalist, founder and chairman of the Dutch nonprofit organization Everyday Refugees Foundation and veteran conflict photographer Muhammed Muheisen has a new perspective and a new calling: he no longer ventures to the frontlines in search of drama and despair. Born and raised amongst conflict in the Middle East, Muheisen now uses photography for advocacy, activism and connection. He dedicates his craft to giving a voice to the many children caught up in the refugee crisis. Through Everyday Refugees, Muheisen helps support projects that build schools, provide much-needed supplies, and teach the languages and skills refugees need to navigate their futures better. This episode focuses on Muheisen’s evolution from photojournalism to activism while following him on his current mission of documenting the stories of Ukrainian war refugees, specifically children, at the Ukrainian-Romanian border.

Muhammed trains his camera on a raucous crew of kids playing off-camera in a makeshift playroom. (National Geographic/Brent Kunkle)
Muhammed trains his camera on a raucous crew of kids playing off-camera in a makeshift playroom. (National Geographic/Brent Kunkle)


PHOTOGRAPHER is produced by Little Monster Films for National Geographic. For Little Monster Films, E. Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin and Pagan Harleman are executive producers, and Anna Barnes and Brent Kunkle are co-executive producers. For National Geographic, Betsy Forhan and Chris Kugelman are executive producers; Charlie Parsons is senior vice president, Development; and Tom McDonald is executive vice president, Global Factual and Unscripted Content.

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