In addition to being well known for articles about scenery, history, and the most distant corners of the world, the magazine has been recognized for its book-like quality and its standard of photography. This standard makes it the home to some of the highest-quality photojournalism in the world. The magazine began to feature color photography in the early 20th century, when this technology was still rare. During the 1930s, Luis Marden (1913-2003), a writer and photographer for National Geographic, convinced the magazine to allow its photographers to use small 35 mm cameras loaded with Kodachrome film over bulkier cameras with tripods and glass plates. Continue reading for more.
In 1959, the magazine started publishing small photographs on its covers, later becoming larger photographs. National Geographic photography has quickly shifted to digital photography for both its magazine on paper and its website. In subsequent years, the magazine cover, while keeping its yellow border, shed its oak leaf trim and bare table of contents, for a large photograph taken from one of the month’s articles inside. Issues of National Geographic are often kept by subscribers for years and re-sold at thrift stores as collectible back-issues. In 2006, National Geographic began an international photography competition with over eighteen countries participating.