Human Journey

The Photographic Chain: Five minutes with Bob Krist

My dreams is… that the market shakes itself out, so talented young visual story tellers can make a living. We have seen explosion in the tech field which allows the creation of video and audio. Photographers have all the the tools that allow them to share wonderful stories. There are so many talented visual people, but sadly we are not seeing a market place that allows to this stuff to be paid in a decent way. In my stage of development, it is not so important, because I am all set. But I really feel for young photographers who see no clear path to earn a living. Long term sustainability of a photography career is much harder now.

Image © Bob Krist


The biggest lesson in my career… is that hard work is more important than talent. When you hear about great photographers, everyone talks about their eye, their sensitivity… But when you get to know them, they all have a ferocious work ethic. That was eye opening. We always think about talent, but not about the ability to generate ideas which is even more important than the eye. Former National Geographic Photography Director Bob Gilka used to say: I am up to my ears in talent, but only ankle deep in ideas. I have many guys who can shoot, but not too many that can propose a story and put together the whole thing.

The biggest lesson in my life… is that life can go in a second. The loss of my youngest son is the biggest and hardest lesson in my life. It made me realize that fame and fortune and all that, is not as important as safety of those who you love.

The moment I will never forget… was an assignment that hardly yielded any pics. I was shooting a story in Trinidad for Islands Magazine. One night there was a knock on my door and I was taken to ¨Shango¨ ceremony. I witnessed an all night ceremony. People in trances, people speaking in voices. The was so very low light and I couldn’t use flash. I saw the most amazing things I have ever seen. I was able to shoot six photographs, but non were ever published.

Photography is… changing. I think its great that we can share stories in so many ways and are no longer dependent on magazines and big publishers. I like all the story-telling possibilities of video these day. For an old still shooter, it is scary on one hand, and fascinating on the other, to be able to craft the whole story from start to finish. You are now the writer, the editor, the image maker and the publisher too…it’s a brave new world!

The Time Machine:



Bob Krist (1979)
Image was taken in 1979, when Bob was working on his first national magazine assignment, shooting a story about shad fisherman on the Hudson River, right off Manhattan.















So who is … Bob?
More about Bob:

Award-winning photographer, journalist, and author Kike Calvo (pronounced key-keh) specializes in culture and environment. He has been on assignment in more than 90 countries, working on stories ranging from belugas in the Arctic to traditional Hmong costumes in Laos. Kike is pioneering in using small unmanned aerial systems to produce aerial photography as art, and as a tool for research and conservation. He is also known for his iconic photographic project, World of Dances, on the intersection of dance, nature, and architecture. His work has been published in National Geographic, New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair, among others. Kike teaches photography workshops and has been a guest lecturer at leading institutions like the School of Visual Arts and Yale University. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic blog Voices. He has authored nine books, including Drones for Conservation; So You Want to Create Maps Using Drones?; Staten Island: A Visual Journey to the Lighthouse at the End of the World; and Habitats, with forewords by David Doubilet and Jean-Michel Cousteau. Kike’s images have been exhibited around the world, and are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection. Kike was born in Spain and is based in New York. When he is not on assignment, he is making gazpacho following his grandmother’s Andalusian recipe. You can travel to Colombia with Kike:
  • Danielle O’Daly

    A lovely and positive outlook on life. Very true that hard work is a key factor for success. For one that is determined to land an opportunity in this field, they must never give up. This article shares a wonderful, heart felt story encouraging this notion. The beautiful thing about life is that it has no boundaries, and if desired enough, has the ability to take us anywhere to witness fantastic moments, that a devoted, passionate photographer is able to capture, and share with the rest of the world. Something that these two men, Kike and Bob acquire, devotion and passion not only for photography, but also to helping others anyway they can. Simply Amazing.

  • Marion Woodfield

    didn’t know you know Bob Krist. We had the pleasure of traveling around the Baltic with him several years ago. Neat and talented guy (like you).

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