George Steinmetz

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George Steinmetz
BornOctober 1, 1957
Beverly Hills
EducationStanford University
SubjectAerial Photography

George Steinmetz (born 1957) is an American photographer. His work has been featured in The New Yorker,[1] Smithsonian,[2] TIME,[3] The New York Times Magazine,[4] and he is a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine.[5]

Early life[edit]

He was born in the neighbourhood of Beverly Hills in Los Angeles and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Geophysics in 1979. He began his career in photography in New York City after hitchhiking through Africa for 28 months in his twenties.


He is the author of five books, African Air, Empty Quarter, Desert Air, New York Air, and The Human Planet: Earth at the Dawn of the Anthropocene [6] which feature portfolios of his work in many regions of the world. African Air is a compilation of pictures from ten years of flying over Africa, mostly with a motorized paraglider. Empty Quarter contains images of the Arabian landscape, its people, and its wildlife. Desert Air is a photographic collection of the world’s “extreme deserts,” which receive less than four inches of precipitation per year. Included are photographs of the Gobi Desert, the Sahara, and Death Valley. "New York Air" is an aerial portrait of New York City with all its boroughs in all four seasons. The Human Planet: Earth at the Dawn of the Anthropocene chronicles how humans have come to be the dominant force shaping the environment and the solutions people have come up with to protect the planet and combat pollution.[7] Images taken on all 7 continents over George’s thirty years of aerial photography explore climate and the natural world, how humans have harvested the biosphere and the footprint humanity is leaving on the planet.

Since his first assignment for National Geographic in 1987, Steinmetz has completed more than 20 major essays for the magazine, including three covers.[8]

He has received many awards during his multi-decade career in photography, including two first prizes in science and technology from World Press Photo.[9] A recent project on large scale food production won The One Club Gold Cube Award[10] He has also won awards and citations from Pictures of the Year,[11] including the 74th Annual POYi Environmental Vision Award,[12] Overseas Press Club and Life magazine's Alfred Eisenstadt Awards. In 2006 he was awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to profit from the work of scientists in the Dry Valleys and volcanoes of Antarctica.[13] The LOOK3 Festival hosted Steinmetz as a keynote speaker in 2011 for his presentation titled "Wild Air".[14]

Much of his work focuses on photographing the world while piloting a motorized paraglider. This experimental aircraft enables him to capture images of the world inaccessible by traditional aircraft and most other modes of transportation.[15] He began using the paraglider in 1997 when a pilot he had hired for a job in Niger quit. He has also begun using a drone for photography.[16]

In 2003 he was the first person to take pictures from a private aircraft in Iran following the revolution.[17]

There is a selection of his work exclusively represented by Anastasia Photo in NYC.[18] His work has also been exhibited in Dubai,[19] the Brookfield Winter Garden in New York.,[20] The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum,[21] The Konica-Minolta Plaza in Tokyo [22] as well as public venues Houston,[23] Denver,[24] Los Angeles,[25] Toronto,[26] Stuttgart,[27] Expo 2015 in Milano, the Triennale di Milano,[28] and twice in the Festival Photo La Gacilly in France.[29]

There are several videos online that feature Steinmetz and his work. He was featured at TED Global 2017 in Tanzania, where he presented his work on Africa.[30] He was interviewed by the Explorers Club and presented his work at the LOOK3 Festival in Charlottesville, the New England Aquarium,[31] and Harvard University. He has videos to preview his books African Air, Empty Quarter, and Desert Air.


He lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Steinmetz is married to Lisa Bannon, an editor at the Wall Street Journal. They have three children.[32]


  1. ^ Lauren Collins, Profiles, "Angle of Vision", The New Yorker, April 19, 2010, p. 72
  2. ^ "History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places". Smithsonian. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  3. ^ The Panama Canal Gets Grander"[1]"
  4. ^ Voyages: Venezuela"[2]"
  5. ^ "Photographer George Steinmetz Biography". National Geographic. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  6. ^ "You searched for george steinmetz - ABRAMS - The Art of Books Since 1949". ABRAMS - The Art of Books Since 1949.
  7. ^ Stephanie Bailey. "This flying photographer is documenting how humans are impacting the planet". CNN. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "Photographer George Steinmetz Biography -". National Geographic. April 25, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  9. ^ "1997, George Steinmetz, 1st prize, Science & Technology stories". World Press Photo. Archived from the original on August 1, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  10. ^ "The New York Times Magazine / Big Food Strikes Back". Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "First Place - Magazine Picture Editing Portfolio". Pictures of the Year International. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  12. ^ "Winner | Environmental Vision Award". Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  13. ^ "Photographer George Steinmetz Biography -". National Geographic. April 25, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  14. ^ "George Steinmetz: Early Impressions". LOOK3. June 8, 2011. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "Flying". George Steinmetz. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  16. ^ Europe, Canon. "George Steinmetz: Storytelling With Aerial Photography". Canon Europe. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  17. ^ Collins, Lauren (April 12, 2010). "George Steinmetz's Aerial Alchemy". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  18. ^ "arabianEye Dubai Exhibit". Jumeirah. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  19. ^ George Steinmetz Desert Air Photography Exhibit "[3] Archived September 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine"
  20. ^ Desert Museum"[4]"
  21. ^ Konica-Minolta Plaza '[5]"
  22. ^ Brookfield Houston Exhibit"[6] Archived September 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine"
  23. ^ Denver Desert Air Exhibit "[7] Archived September 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine"
  24. ^ Arts Brookfield Los Angeles "[8]"
  25. ^ Arts Brookfield Toronto "[9]"
  26. ^ "Sonderausstellung Naturkundemuseum: Die Natur als abstrakter Künstler". (in German).
  27. ^ Expo 2015 "[10] Archived October 9, 2015, at the Wayback Machine"
  28. ^ La Gacilly "[11]"
  29. ^ "Photos of Africa, taken from a flying lawn chair".
  30. ^ Newton, Green (March 9, 2015). "'Water Rising: The Impact on Humanity' Lecture on April 9". Green Newton.
  31. ^ "George Steinmetz - The Photo Society". Retrieved August 16, 2020.