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Ira Block (born 1949, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American photographer. Since the mid-1970s, he has shot many stories for the National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, and also National Geographic Adventure. He has photographed diverse locations in Africa, the Australian outback, the Gobi Desert, Siberia, and the North Pole where he spent three months with the late, world famous Japanese explorer, Naomi Uemura. Block's archive includes rare archaeological relics from ancient sites in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, as well as some of the only recorded images of the ritual dances of the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest.
While a student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Block shot for the Wisconsin State Journal and covered the turbulent 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago for United Press International. After leaving Wisconsin, he freelanced in New York for many magazines including Sports Illustrated Magazine, TIME and Life (magazine)|LIFE]]. He was also a regular contributor to many foreign publications including Stern, Paris Match and German Geo Magazine.
His first National Geographic Magazine assignment was The Continental Shelf: Man's New Frontier in April 1978. In the September 1978 edition, he documented the late Japanese explorer Naomi Uemera's solo expedition by dog sled to the North Pole. Following that he photographed a series of stories on indigenous and ancient people including the Fremont and Anasazi cultures in the United States, the Aboriginal people of Australia, and the Moche in Peru. His archaeological work includes worldwide, underwater treasure, colonial excavations in Jamestown, Virginia and Civil War ship wrecks.
Additionally, he has photographed major, worldwide dinosaur finds and specimens. During the summer of 2007, Block spent time in the Gobi Desert and other parts of China for the July 2008 story, The Real Jurassic Park.
Block's book credits include Back Roads America, Nature's Healing Arts, 1607: A New Look At Jamestown and Preserving America's Past for the National Geographic's book division. His book, Saving America's Treasures, was a joint project between National Geographic and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Saving America's Treasures (2000, National Geographic, ISBN 978-0-7922-7942-6)
- 1607: A New Look At Jamestown (2007, National Geographic, ISBN 1-4263-0012-3)
He teaches at the Maine Media Workshops and has lectured at Photo Plus Expo and the National Geographic lecture series.