James Blair, who was a National Geographic Magazine staff photographer from 1962 through 1994 spoke at the Explorers Club Washington Group dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday, May 17, 2014.
The National Geographic published more than 45 of his stories, including major coverages of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Ethiopia, West Africa, Iran, Russia, and Greece, and various parts of the United States, as well as articles on agriculture, coal, astronomy, and uses of photography in science.
He covered southeast China for the book Journey Into China, published in 1982. He was the chief photographer for the National Geographic book on environment,As We Live and Breathe, and then continued his special interest in the environment with coverage of the disappearing rain forest, environmental pollution, and World Heritage sites.
In 1977, as a result of his coverage of South Africa, Blair was made a Poynter Fellow at Yale University. He also received the Overseas Press Club of America Award for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad for this coverage.
Blair has received numerous awards for other coverage from the National Press Photographers Association and the White House News Photographers Association.Since retiring from the National Geographic Society in 1994, Blair continues to photograph and teach.