When I recently shared on social media (especially Facebook) that the latest National Geographic Traveller Photography Magazine was out, I didn’t take an adequate step back to fully reflect on what had just transpired. I was certainly grateful. Working as a professional travel photographer (a black African woman to boot!) can be challenging within such a tough industry.
In a nutshell, the photography magazine app took readers behind the scenes of my West Sweden assignment which was featured in a 9-page spread of the October 2016 print issue of NGT UK itself. They also shared a Q&A interview with me as well as showed some previously unpublished photos.
Not only that, one of my photos from Grebbestad was the cover image with my name written across the cover too!
But the exact moment that made it all really sink in was when I got their regular email newsletter which I subscribe to and saw my name and image in there. Some of my friends said I should print it out and frame it because it also has my name on it. I laughed it aside, trying to minimize its emotional impact, after all I can barely stomach narcissism (not to be confused with healthy self-love) even in microscopic doses.
But when I told my husband what they said, his response?
And as you guys know, that question “Why not?” has been the driving mantra behind my work as an African travel writer and photographer. Even though I often contribute to the brand, I needed to step back and truly appreciate just how far I’ve come.
We’re all racing down various paths in life and while it is human nature to get derailed by looking at someone else’s path in a world that is constantly going for superficial quick wins over resilience, it’s always gratifying to see the culmination of hard work manifested this way.
And I certainly hope this is just the first of many more Nat Geo brand covers to come as I have shown over the years that every single work I create, I do it with unbridled passion, regardless of who is or who isn’t watching.
So yes, I will print it out.