By Katy Kelleher
For a travel writer and photography enthusiast, there are few publications more inspiring than National Geographic. Ever since I was a child, I have been picking up copies of the magazine, browsing through the glossy pages, and excited by the sheer diversity of the world. From brilliantly colored sea creatures captured in the depths of the tropical ocean to black-and-white images of dancers swirling with motion, their photographers seem to capture it all. And now, to celebrate over a decade in business, National Geographic is opening up their archives and sharing some of their favorite images from the past 125 years. The result is a blog titled simply “Found.”
For me, the name seems fitting, evoking at once old-fashioned explorers and recently discovered footage. (Surely, “Shot” would have sounded too combative, and “Captured” too close to Western Civilization’s colonial roots). It also reflects the somewhat haphazard nature of the site. Images are not ordered by region or by subject matter, but simply shared. Pictures of lush water gardens follow snapshots of Italian travelers. Like Pinterest, it’s a collection of visual inspiration, given freely and with few accompanying words. You’re told simply the location, photographer, and year.
Browsing through the archives has given me a strange feeling. It’s almost impossible to describe, but I’ll try: it’s a mixture of nostalgia for days and moments that I never experienced, a past that exists outside my possibility, and sharp hunger for more—more travel, more life, more sights, more trains and planes. You might call it wanderlust—it shares the same tinge of sadness—mixed with an awareness of all the world’s many possibilities.
Before running off to buy a plane ticket, check out “Found.” Because no matter what kind of inspiration you’re seeking, chances are you’ll find it there.