Photographing the Milky Way

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds
News & Insight

125 years of Stunning National Geographic Images

By fotosiamo on September 27th 2013

125 Years National Geographic Issue

In the last 125 years, National Geographic Magazine has published some of the world’s most stunning and memorable images. For the October 2013 issue, the magazine celebrates its 125th anniversary by featuring many of its trademark, iconic photojournalistic images.

“Photography is a powerful tool and form of self-expression,” Editor in Chief Chris Johns said of the anniversary edition. “Sharing what you see and experience through the camera allows you to connect, move and inspire people around the world.”

According to International Business Times, National Geographic published its first photo in 1889 and its first photo story in 1905. National Geographic was also the first magazine company in the world to have its own in-house color photography lab (1920). By 1943, National Geographic started featuring small photographic images for its cover, which subsequently evolved to a single large photograph for its covers.

Of course, the most famous National Geographic cover image is the “Afghan Girl.” This image was shot by Steve McCurry at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan and appeared as the cover of National Geographic’s June 1985 issue. This powerful image eventually became the symbol of both the 1980s Afghan conflict and the plight of its refugees.

The Afghan Girl (Steve McCurry/National Geographic)

The Afghan Girl (Steve McCurry/National Geographic)

Here are some of the other images that have been featured in the National Geographic Magazine. You can also see more images at Yahoo News.

Noor Nisa (Lynsey Addario/National Geographic)

Noor Nisa, about 18, was pregnant, and her water had just broken. Her husband was determined to get her to the hospital, but his car broke down, and he went to find another vehicle. The photographer ended up taking Noor Nisa, her mother and her husband to the hospital, where she gave birth to a baby girl. (Lynsey Addario/National Geographic)

Leopard Seal (Paul Nicklen/National Geographic)

“I expected this leopard seal to flee with her catch, a live penguin chick, but she dropped it on my camera,” says Paul Nicklen, who shot this photo in Antarctica, 2005. Since these aggressive mammals eat whatever they find in the variable ice pack, scientists track their diets to gauge changes caused by global warming. (Paul Nicklen/National Geographic)

Lamayuru Gompa, Ladakh, India (Thomas J Abercrombie/National Geographic/Beetles and Huxley)

A woman leading her sheep past Lamayuru Gompa, Ladakh, India, 1978. (Thomas J Abercrombie/National Geographic/Beetles and Huxley)

The Gulf War (Steve McCurry/National Geographic)

Under the black clouds of burning oil fields during the Gulf War, camels forage desperately for shrubs and water in southern Kuwait. Front-line photographs of regions ravaged by human strife can also illuminate war’s environmental cost. (Steve McCurry/National Geographic)

Cowgirl and Parking Meter - Luis Marden

A cowgirl dropped a nickel in a parking meter to hitch her pony. When this photo was taken El Paso was still a highly horse-conscious town with many cattle-ranch residents. (Luis Marden/National Geographic)

A Diver and Southern Right Whale (Brian J Skerry/National Geographic/Beetles and Huxley)

A diver and a southern right whale, Auckland Islands, New Zealand, 2007. (Brian J Skerry/National Geographic/Beetles and Huxley)

Young Asaro Mudmen (Jodie Cobb/National Geographic/Beetles and Huxley)

Young Asaro mudmen at the annual tribal sing-sing at Garoka, Melansia, 2000. (Jodie Cobb/National Geographic/Beetles and Huxley)

Jou Jou the Chimanzee and Dr. Jane Goodall (Michael Nichols/National Geographics_

Jou Jou captive chimpanziee reaches out its hand to Dr. Jane Goodall in Brazzaville Zoo, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, 1990. (Michael Nichols/National Geographics_

President Sequoia - Michael Nichols

This photo is a mosaic composed of 126 images—click to enlarge. Cloaked in the snows of California’s Sierra Nevada, the 3,200-year-old giant sequoia called the President rises 247 feet. Two other sequoias have wider trunks, but none has a larger crown, say the scientists who climbed it. The figure at top seems taller than the other climbers because he’s standing forward on one of the great limbs. (Michael Nichols/National Geographic)


Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Rafael Steffen

    One of my favorite all time photographers! Love his work! I would love to see his personal work live in a gallery.
    Printed prints are still the best way to enjoy photography.

    | |
  2. Ahmad Amin

    “National Geographic was also the first magazine company in the have its own in-house color photography lab (1920).” have a couple of missing words “… in the **world to** have its…”

    | |