Last night I saw an excellent program about National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. It was part of the PBS series, "At Close Range", which I'd never seen before.
The program was not only about Sartore's photography, but also the ways in which his family life is affected by long assignments in distant places. It also examines his relationship with his editors, who don't always tell him want he wants to hear. In one scene, one of the editors is looking through a loupe at one of his slides and says, "No, it's not artistic, it's out of focus." Sartore is apparently what one the same editor referred to as a "dinosaur", being one of the last of the NG photographer to use film. The rest have gone digital.
In a way, the piece serves as a reality check for anyone who might want to become a photographer for NG or any similar publication. Sartore gains much in recognition and financially, but he pays a price in his personal life, up to and including contracting a life-threatening disease from an insect bite in Brazil.
He is dedicated, or even driven (his word). On the last assignment covered by the story, a ten-week shoot in Alaska, he shot 800 rolls of 35mm film. Assuming they were 36-exposure rolls, that's 28,800 shots. I don't think I've shot that much in my entire life. There was no indication of what film he uses, but his camera is the N-word.....