[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Final Edit
September 2004

The image we rescued from the cutting room floor.

Final Edit Editor Senior editor Dennis Dimick explains why a beautiful picture isn't always the one that will tell the story.

Cut It?
"This aerial image doesn't really hone in on the main point we're trying to make about rising sea levels," says senior editor Dennis Dimick. "We opted for a close-up photo, where you can see the water crashing over Male's seawall. You get a better sense of the effects of a warming world."

Or Keep It?
"Although this picture is elegant, has great composition, and beautiful light, there weren't strong editorial arguments for keeping it in the article when compared with the image of waves crashing over the seawall in Male," Dimick continues. "A sea-level rise of a few inches is just not going to show from an aerial unless coastlines already have been significantly altered. This photo had been in and out of the layout throughout the process and ultimately ended up as a good choice for Final Edit."

—Lynh Bui

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

Signs From Earth
No High Ground

It's pretty as a postcard from the air. You'd never guess that Male (above), the island capital of the Maldives, is threatened by the serenely blue Indian Ocean. If scientists' worst-case projections come true and sea level rises more than three feet, the Maldives and other low-lying atoll nations could be underwater by century's end.

Male was one of dozens of ports of call for photographer Peter Essick as he made pictures for this month's series of articles about global climate change, visiting every continent but Australia.

In the article's final layout, this image was passed over for a ground-level shot of waves breaking over the seawall (see page 18 in this month's issue). "This image would have helped convey a sense of place," said picture editor Dennis Dimick. "But space for the article was limited, and this picture doesn't really show what Peter went to the Maldives to show—sea-level rise."

—Chris Carroll

Check out Signs From Earth, 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