Photojournalist Offers Glimpses into the Muslim World

Veteran photojournalist Alexandra Avakian has spent much of her twenty-plus year career working for prestigious magazines like Time and National Geographic and newspapers like The NY Times. Much of her work has been focused on the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Northern Africa. Stints in Iran, Somalia, Gaza and amongst American Muslims has given her ample opportunity to photograph the adherents of Islam in many different settings, both religious and cultural. A sampling of some of her best work is coming out in a photo-book published by Nat Geo. It is titled Windows of the Soul: My Journeys in the Muslim World. Avakian has also started a blog, which has the same title as her book, on National Geographic’s web site. The blog is an interesting introduction to her work. Avakian reminisces about things like visiting a movie set in Iran and learning how the country’s leading actress got around the strict theocratic laws by donning wigs and being hush-hush while applying make-up. While Avakian has by no means produced a definitive work on Muslims (I don’t think that was her goal), she offers a unique and human take on a culture that is often in the press, but not usually seen in-depth.

[Via American Photo’s State of the Art]

How to take Better Cell Phone Photographs by National Geographic

It was only a matter of time before camera phones warranted their own photography books.

First generation camera phones produced horrific photos but improvements have come rapidly and now it’s actually quite difficult to tell the difference between a photograph taken by a regular camera and one shot by a cell phone.


Cell phone cameras still need a little extra help to produce a quality image and that’s the idea behind The Camera Phone Book: How to Shoot like a Pro.

The fact that National Geographic has produced this book lends an incredible amount of legitimacy to the cell phone camera. National Geographic has always been the poster child of quality photography and by endorsing what was once a joke amongst serious photographers they have elevated the cell phone camera to a level never thought possible. In fact, the forward of the book claims that it is the “first of its kind to treat these units as genuine cameras instead of novelties.”

But, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Not only does the book provide tips on capturing that perfect cell phone photograph, but it also includes 44 examples of how National Geographic photographers have managed to do so.