All of us remember being enthralled by the photographs from all over the world in the familiar magazine with that iconic yellow border. National Geographic has been part of us since our childhood, the one magazine—with its rich feel, that distinctive smell of its magazine stock—our parents urged us to read. It has stayed with us through our growing up days and which continues to mesmerise us visually on TV now. But it’s the print magazine pictures that stand out, that make us stare at them, often with disbelief. The ethnographic portraits of ‘natives’, of spectacular natural phenomena, great jungles and mighty rivers, of blazing deserts and cold mountains, of outer space, the unknown deep of the oceans, of magnificent architectural wonders, of microbes and viruses, of ways of life. Now, in its 125th year, National Geographic has come out with an ambitious three-volume collection of its best photographers along with insightful essays and articles, conceived by Benedikt Taschen. Here is a sample of the photographs, made available exclusively to Outlook, from Turkish baths to apartheid South Africa. You may have seen a million pictures of the Taj Mahal, but have you ever seen it floating in ethereally blue moonlight?
A shorter, edited version of this appears in print.