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National Geographic Books Creates New Imprint Dedicated to Fine Photography

August 5, 2008

National Geographic Books’ Focal Point imprint, the Society’s newest venture, will draw on National Geographic’s legendary photographic archive — encompassing 16 name collections and more than 10 million images — as well as the work of distinguished photographers around the world. The imprint, debuting this fall, will present the finest in documentary photography past and present, and monographs will celebrate individual photographers’ unique style, vision and skill.

Leah Bendavid-Val, director of photography publishing for National Geographic Books, explains, “Focal Point books are carefully chosen to showcase photography’s pioneers and its modern masters and will appeal to connoisseurs, professionals, collectors, serious students of photojournalism and all lovers of photography.”

A natural extension of National Geographic’s photography publishing, from best-selling photography field guides to mass-market photography gift books, Focal Point sets apart titles that represent the most outstanding work of elite photographers. The imprint begins with an inherent advantage — the wealth of never-before-published material contained in National Geographic’s vast historical archive and decades of work created on assignment for National Geographic’s magazines.

Four inaugural Focal Point titles demonstrate the wide range and world-class quality that will distinguish this imprint. These books and those that follow will combine the timely and the timeless, illuminating both subject and context.

Alexandra Avakian’s WINDOWS OF THE SOUL: My Journeys in the Muslim World (ISBN: 978-1-4262-0320-6; Sept. 30, 2008; $40) reveals the photojournalist’s astonishing courage during two decades traveling the globe documenting the Muslim culture. Arresting images and fast-moving tales tell her story.

Sam Abell’s THE LIFE OF A PHOTOGRAPH (ISBN: 978-1-4262-0329-9; Oct. 21, 2008; $40) uncovers the back story behind this master photographer’s exquisite images, exposing his perseverance, daring, judgment and artistic vision, as well as innovative techniques and the frame-by-frame process of making a truly great photograph. Many of the photographs in this book are being published for the first time.

ODYSSEYS AND PHOTOGRAPHS (ISBN: 978-1-4262-0172-1; Nov. 11, 2008; $40) chronicles the rich and surprising history of four iconic National Geographic field men — Maynard Owen Williams, Luis Marden, Volkmar Wentzel and Thomas Abercrombie — told by those who knew them best, along with 200 stellar images, many never before published.

REZA WAR + PEACE (ISBN: 978-1-4262-0326-8; Nov. 18, 2008; $75) is a 30-year retrospective on the extraordinary work of this renowned, international photojournalist and humanitarian. Reza’s images give voice to some of the poorest, war-torn people on the planet, revealing paradoxical beauty, pain and suffering, universal humanity and a visual eloquence at once compassionate, clear-eyed, unsparing and hopeful.

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 300 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.




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