[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Final Edit
February 2004

The image we rescued from the cutting room floor.

Final Edit Editor Design editor Elaine Bradley lauds Final Edit's appreciation of the finer points.

Cut It?
"We originally started the story with a very serene image, but after we reviewed the layout, it was too quiet," explains design editor Elaine Bradley.  "Carbon cycle is such a thick story and so important in terms of what it tells us about the world we live in. Photo editor Dennis Dimick and I wanted an image that captured the concept of the carbon cycle, but with energy; we needed the opening spreads to be dynamic."

Or Keep It?
"Well, this photograph is beautiful," Elaine continues, "and it shows what Peter Essick does so well—compose absolutely lyrical images. Peter is a master at making these gorgeous but also compelling pictures that hit at the heart of a story. When we are consistently given a tray of photographs that are so stunning, it's hard to narrow down the selection. That's why we love Final Edit; it gives us the chance to show the reader what we missed."

—Amanda Bowling

February Final Edit
Photograph by Peter Essick Send this image as a postcard

Quiet Time

Is it possible for a photograph to be too tranquil—or even too beautiful? To meet the needs of some articles, the answer is yes.
While developing the layout for the carbon cycle story, design editor Elaine Bradley experimented with a poetic approach. She tried beginning the article with Peter Essick's image of a decomposing leaf in swirling water. Early on, Peter's dreamy picture of an egret wading off shell-laden rocks on Florida's Sanibel Island (above) seemed to fit the story's mood.
At the last moment, she and photo editor Dennis Dimick chose a new tack to "ramp up the energy of the story," says Dennis. They changed the opening picture to one of a blazing fire. Then they moved another of Peter's shots from Sanibel onto the next spread—not this quiet still life with the egret, but one with crashing waves—launching the story with speed and drama.

—Tom O'Neill

Check out Carbon Cycle, the feature story for which this photo was originally taken.
Final Edit Photographer Zoom In on more images by Peter Essick.

© 2004 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

National Geographic Magazine Home Contact Us Forums Shop Subscribe