NatGeo Needs 4 Covers To Capture 2021

Four Covers Address COVID, Climate, Conflict, Conservation

National Geographic has published its Year in Pictures campaign, featuring images that embody 2021’s turbulence – from political rancor and climate change to COVID developments and conflicts around the globe.

With a cooler of COVID-19 vaccines in hand, Nazir Ahmed looks for shepherds and nomadic herders in the meadows of Tosamaidan, southwest of Srinagar in the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir. In the race to vaccinate against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, health-care workers have gone to extreme lengths to reach remote communities. From Srinagar, it took Ahmed and a half dozen colleagues three hours driving and then walking to reach this isolated spot. They spent four hours searching for people and vaccinated more than 10. (Dar Yasin/AP PHOTO)

The January issue is presented this year through four covers, each reflecting a major theme of 2021 – COVID, climate, conflict, and conservation. With almost 2 million photos added to National Geographic’s archives in 2021, the four covers and photos from the campaign best document the year through the work of some of the world’s most gifted photographers.

Firefighters spent months in 2021 battling to contain California’s Dixie fire, which burned nearly a million acres and destroyed most of Greenville, a town of around a thousand. The number and size of wildfires across western North America have increased in recent years, driven in part by climate change, which intensifies hot, dry conditions that suck water from living and dead plants, making them likelier to burn. Part of the solution, scientists agree, is more widespread use of “good” fire: controlled, low-intensity burns that clear leaf litter and brush from the forest floor, reducing the fuel for wildfires. (Photo by Lynsey Addario)

While the January issue is the centerpiece of the Year in Pictures campaign, the digital hub also features an array of additional content, including best animal photos of 2021, 2021 wins for the planet, best science photos of the year, and more.

Planted on parkland around the Washington Monument, the small white flags were both tributes to and symbols of each life lost to COVID-19 in the United States. Artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg devised the installation to express the enormity of the national death toll—and also the pain of individual deaths, as mourners decorated flags with loved ones’ names and photos. During the roughly three weeks that the installation was in place, the U.S. passed a grim milestone: 700,000 COVID fatalities. (Stephen Wilkes/National Geographic)

Whitney Johnson, NatGeo’s Director of Visual and Immersive Experiences, is responsible for putting together the ‘Year in Pictures’ issue and choosing which photos are featured in this year’s campaign.