Evening with National Geographic Photographer Randy Olson

Description: evening lecture and screening photographs by Randy Olson, one the most celebrated documentary photographers working today.

Randy Olson’s work has appeared in numerous publications, but he is best known as a National Geographic photographer. He has traveled to over fifty countries for the dozens of feature projects he’s completed for National Geographic, from the Ozarks and Iowa’s Amish communities, to Samoa, the Black Sea, Sudan, Suriname, Iraq, and Kamchatka. Having won the “Picture of the Year” award more than thirty times before 2005, he had stopped entering contests until his partecipation to this year SIPAContest edition. His photographs have been republished more then 8,000 times since 2001 and his work has appeared in over seventy books published by the National Geographic Society and others. He has had exhibitions and conducted workshops internationally over a career that spans thirty-five years.

As he travelled the world on assignment for National Geographic, Olson observed that every year the Earth is losing precious diversity – cultural, linguistic, genetic - and that it is all irreplaceable.

He is persuaded that our contemporary conversations about biodiversity tend to focus too exclusively on animals and plants, and not enough on how urbanization erodes indigenous communities in several areas of the globe, such as the Mbuti Pygmies, Aboriginal Australians, and Easter Island’s Rapa Nui. In this talk, Olson will showcase his photographic work, that aims to add a human dimension by documenting the faces and stories of people whose cultures and life-worlds are threatened, and whose genetic pools are evaporating.

His photographs are both hauntingly beautiful and compellingly urgent.


Language: English
Number of participants
maximum 160
Friday 27th October 2017
University of Siena
Padiglione Esterno del San Niccolò
Via Roma, 56 - Siena 
Registration: 02:45 pm to 03:00 pm
Beginning: 03:00 pm to 04:45 pm
Entrance: free, subject to availability
Reservation: required

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Name: Randy Olson

Biography: Randy Olson is a photographer in the documentary tradition. Published in LIFE, GEO, Smithsonian and other magazines, he has primarily worked on projects for the National Geographic Society.

He normally works individually, but has co- produced National Geographic magazine stories with his wife, Melissa Farlow, on northern California, American national parks, and the Alps. They photographed the southern United States for a book by Collins Publishing and have collaborated on over 70 books by various publishers. Randy’s 30+ National Geographic projects have taken him to almost every continent. National Geographic Society published a book of his work in 2011 in their Masters of Photography series. His works has been exhibited and shown multiple times in Perpignan, France at the Visa pour l’Image Festival.

Olson was the Magazine Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition, and was also awarded POYi’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year, one of only two photographers to win in both media in the largest photojournalism contest operating continuously since World War II.

A graduate of the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri, Olson lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"The perfect photograph is rare. The ones that speak to me have at least one or two of the following going for them: geometry, moment, serendipity, layers, color palette, light or context” - Randy Olson