In Conversation with Elizabeth Cheng Krist

A graduate from Princeton University, Elizabeth Cheng Krist is a Senior Photo Editor for National Geographic. She worked at Asia and then Fortune before joining National Geographic magazine in 1994. Elizabeth has won awards from POYi, Overseas Press Club, and Communication Arts, and she has judged competitions for Kodak, Nikon, NPPA, College Photographer of the Year, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. She has curated exhibitions in Washington, D.C., and Athens, Greece, and has reviewed portfolios at the Palm Springs Photo Festival, Eddie Adams Workshop, and Review Santa Fe. A few years ago Elizabeth received a fellowship from the International Reporting Project.

CHARLES HARBUTT | Romance for the Real, Part IV

Issue 12

The Greeks Greece is the stencil of western civilization; it is where we have looked for democracy’s model. In Greece, the frontal lobes, the rational, verbal brain took over control of communication. Greek letter-forms are abstract shapes referring to the sounds of the letters themselves, not to any drawing of something real as in earlier alphabets. There is a theory that this divorce led to the triumph of abstract thinking in the West, the “victory” of the verbal brain.


Last summer it was floods. Irene came through in late August bringing too much water. The Little Beaverkill washed our road away. Irene was an echo of Katrina. We are no longer just threatened by global warming. It has begun. We’re in the soup.


In the Spring of 2011 I was invited to go on a cruise to the Caribbean on Princess Cruise Lines. As always, I saw this as an opportunity to make pictures. The environment I encountered on the Crown Princess is in many ways artificial and man-made.
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