Nat Geo Assignment: Invisible Worlds

Nat Geo Assignment: Invisible Worlds - Kristian Bertel
Bikaner, India is submitted to ‘Invisible Worlds’ assignment on National Geographic.



See the National Geographic photo assignments that Kristian Bertel has participated in – Read the story about his photographs here…

Kristian Bertel has contributed to the National Geographic Your Shot community with an assignment called ‘Invisible Worlds‘. For this assignment, which is curated by is curated by Anand Varma, a National Geographic photographer, where he wants to see pictures of invisible worlds and for this assignment, our assignment is to use your camera to reveal details about our subject that you would not have noticed with your eye.

We can think about details in terms of scale, motion or lighting. Lighting could be a backlit image of a leaf that shows the veins. However, these are all very familiar things that have been photographed many times before. We should use our camera as a tool to explore the world around us and figure out how to show our subject in a new way.

As Anand is saying it: ”- My favorite photographs are those that capture details that I never would have noticed with my naked eye. Early on in my career, I focused on macro photography for exactly that reason. I loved looking at my images and seeing the hairs, dimples, reflections, and other tiny details in my subjects that I never fully appreciated before. However, as I continued to photograph new subjects, I started to realize there are many ways a camera can extend our ability to perceive the world”, he says.

While Anand thinks it is fine to submit abstract images to this assignment, his interest in photography comes from wanting to explore the real world around him. That means an abstract picture has a much higher bar to achieve the same level of impact, because it does not have the added value of teaching me about a subject. Let us take light painting as an example.

Light to draw abstract
We could use a light to draw an abstract pattern in the dark. This image can only be judged by its aesthetic elements because it simply does not have a narrative dimension to it. On the other hand, if we took a long exposure of someone with a headlamp walking along a trail at night, that streak of the light actually tells you the path that person took. It could reveal subtle details in that person’s gait, or it could show what shape the trail was. There is more to that photo than just the aesthetic features alone.


”The value of a photograph is a combination of the concept and how it is photographed. By ‘concept’, Nat Geo means all the elements that went into making the image. Did we wait all day for the perfect light? Did we figure out a unique angle? Did we discover a new detail by mistake? The stories behind the photographs contribute to their impact”


It is why a photo of a tiger in the wild is so much more powerful than a tiger in the zoo. But we can only know the story when it is described properly in the caption, so make sure your captions are descriptive.

About the submitted photograph
The photographer chose to submit a photograph of an Indian man walking on the busy Sri Ganganagar Rd in Bikaner, India. He is very interested in how the everyday society is working in India and how culture can affect the life conditions in the country. It is very obvious that with the lack of adequate street lighting it is difficult for motorists to see what is coming in front of them, and in the dark and dusty night sky, cyclists are traveling on moderate and ram-shackled cycles without any lights. With over 130,000 deaths annually, the country of India has overtaken China and now has the worst road traffic accident rate worldwide. Most of the accidents are caused by human errors.

”- I was amazed and shocked about how the conditions were for these pedestrians in India. But somehow there was like a flow in the traffic that made everybody seem to be save though in this almost invisible world of people”, the photographer Kristian Bertel says.


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Assignments and Stories — National Geographic Your Shot »
Nat Geo Assignment: Tastes Like Home »
Your Shot Photo Community — National Geographic »
Kristian Bertel’s entire gallery on Your Shot »
Showcase of Kristian Bertel’s Your Shot »
Kristian Bertel’s website »


    Tags:   #india   #travel   #photos