Photographer [2000]

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Going behind the camera and on assignment with veteran photographers for National Geographic, this documentary answers the eternal question asked by the magazine's readers: "How in the world did they get that shot?" The photographers recount the grueling preparation that shooting for the magazine entails, from mundane details such as obtaining visas to preparing oneself for dangers such as severe climates, deep-sea dives, raging beasts, and local bandits. And don't forget insects, lots and lots of insects, a point made pellucid as photographers in a fast montage rattle off how many times they've battled malaria. Besides the physical ordeals, there is also discussion of the emotional toll involved in shooting in brutal conditions, such as one photographer's recounting of how distressing it was to continue shooting pictures in the famine zone of the Horn of Africa. Beyond all the hardships, the travel to the world's farthest flung places involves considerable loneliness, but the photographers interviewed speak of having the "best job in the world," and their enthusiasm for the work is abundant. It goes without saying that this video is a visual delight, as many examples of noteworthy National Geographic photographs, and entertaining explanations of how the shot was set up and snapped, appear throughout. --Robert J. McNamara

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