George Steinmetz’s take on ‘Big Food’

The well-known National Geographic photographer shares his experiences of exploring massive food production units and fields.

By Author  |  Published: 22nd Sep 2019  12:50 amUpdated: 21st Sep 2019  7:44 pm

The first day of the Indian Photography Festival’s fifth edition saw distinguished dignitaries taking part. George Steinmetz, an American photographer who has done over 40 photo stories for National Geographic and 25 stories for GEO magazine in Germany, delivered the key note address on ‘Big Food’.

Sharing his experiences, George said, “The year 2050 requires double the food. My exploration started to photograph massive food production units and fields to understand how they are gearing up to meet the required me to he stated.” By 2100, the world’s population is expected to go up to 11 billion. Between the population surge and increased demand the world will need to double its food supply, he added.

George Steinmetz spent years to capture systems, in all its scope, grandeur and dizzying scale. Few food producers were willing to open themselves to the public view with the kind of photography he did, shared the photographer.

Best known for his exploration photography, George Steinmetz has a restless curiosity for the unknown: remote deserts, obscure cultures, the mysteries of science and technology. He began his career in photography in New York City after hitchhiking through Africa for 28 months in his twenties. His current work focuses on photographing the world’s deserts while piloting a motorised paraglider. This experimental aircraft enables him to capture images of the world inaccessible by traditional aircraft and most other modes of transportation.

George has showcased his works on massive food production units across the USA, Spain, Middle East, Japan, Yemen and other countries. For George, this is the first visit to Hyderabad, second to India. “Soon, I would like to travel to Kerala to take photos of mass spice production and packaging units there,” he shared.

Distinguished guests

The 73-year-old Richard Drew, an Associated Press photo-journalist, is known all over the world for capturing the ‘Falling Man from the World Trade Center towers’ following the September 11 attacks. Drew was one of four press photographers present at the assassination of Robert F Kennedy. He has been an Associated Press photographer for over 40 years and lives in New York City.

For British photographer Tim Flach, an animal photographer known for taking human-like portraits of animals, this is a third visit to India. “I have travelled to Rajasthan earlier,” he said, adding, “Connecting people with the nature is a huge role”. Flach picturised a lot of endangered animal species, and published a book titled Endangered featuring his works. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and lives in London.

Rachael Strecher, Director of Media Innovation at the National Geographic Society, leads grantmaking to support photographers, writers, filmmakers, data visualisation experts, cartographers and other storytellers. Formerly, she was with Aspen Institute’s New Voices Fellowship, a programme designed to bring expert voices from the developing world into the global development discussion. Rachael began her career as a photojournalist with Associated Press and other outlets.

And the winner is…

The ‘Indian Photography Festival’ Portrait Prize 2019 is a portrait competition open to photographers from the Indian subcontinent. What’s interesting about portraiture is its ability to capture the essence of a person, a time-period, or a culture. This award aims at discovering the compelling portraits and extraordinary talents. The winners were chosen out of 2,000-plus photographers competing for the coveted title.

  • Ankita Jain bags first prize for ‘Image Mourning for the Dead’ and wins Rs 50,000 cash prize.
  • Prashant S receives second prize for ‘Head Space’ and cash of Rs 25,000.
  • Joydeep Mukherjee gets third prize and a cash award of Rs 10,000 for ‘The Kid’.
  • Siva Sai Jeevanantham received Rs 3 lakh Photography Grant 2019 for his project ‘In the Same River’.