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Final EditThe image we rescued from the cutting room floor.

John Echave

Senior editor John Echave talks about how getting the right angle can make all the difference in the way a photo communicates.



Cut It?
“We wanted to get readers hooked on meerkats so they would be excited about the animals and their conservation,” says senior editor John Echave. “But this image doesn’t have the same sense of intimacy as the photo we eventually chose for pages 54-5. We’re looking at the animals’ backs, so it’s not as engaging.”

Or Keep It?
“Despite the drawbacks, this photo gives you a sense of place,” Echave continues. “You can see where meerkats live and how they stand up on their hind legs to sun themselves. They’re pretty small, so they also have to stand to look for predators. This photo shows how they are constantly on the alert. It’s a nice image with multiple elements and a good choice for Final Edit.”

Final Edit

Photograph by Mattias Klum To send this image as a postcard click here.

Looking Good

It’s mighty fine to be a meerkat with pals close by and the Kalahari sun on your fur. Sure, you’re snack size to a lot of predators. And drought can make it tough to find enough beetles, grubs, and reptiles to fill your stomach. But despite the long survival odds faced by individual meerkats—adult mortality rates in one study area exceeded 50 percent annually—the species as a whole is doing well. Widely distributed across southern Africa, Suricata suricatta isn’t considered endangered anywhere in its range.

They’re certainly flourishing in our pages. When Editor in Chief Bill Allen chose this shot for Final Edit, one of the senior staff in the crowded layout room mumbled something about this issue “already showing a lot of meerkats.” Bill looked around and replied: “You can never have too many meerkats.”

Learn more about the feature story this photo was taken for.
Zoom In on more images by Mattias Klum.





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