Nov 3, 2014

5 Famous National Geographic Covers


Since 1888, National Geographic has introduced millions of readers to remarkable stories, scenes and discoveries from around the world. The magazine’s cover images have been an iconic element of that storytelling since September 1959, when a picture of a U.S. Navy fighter jet became the first cover photograph to appear. Since then, the cover images — captured by gifted and innovative photographers — have brought readers to every continent, to the ocean depths and into space as part of the magazine’s acclaimed storytelling.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC THE COVERS: Iconic Photographs, Unforgettable Stories by Mark Collins Jenkins, is an illustrated history of National Geographic’s memorable, beloved and groundbreaking covers and cover stories. The book brings together hundreds of images that have transformed our understanding of the planet — and beyond — and combines these visuals with backstories (many previously unrevealed) and insights. Organized by decade, these visual touchstones chart our evolving understanding of the world, the unfolding of international political events, the amazing discoveries that have rewritten history and the enduring and sometimes endangered beauty of our planet.


October 1888
Cover by NGS

001 1888 first cover1 5 Famous National Geographic Covers


National Geographic Magazine, volume I, number 1, features the Society’s first seal, a map of the United States.



June 1985
Photo by Steve McCurry/National Geographic

005 06 1985 5 Famous National Geographic Covers


Haunting eyes and a tattered garment tell the plight of a girl who fled her native Afghanistan for a refugee camp in Pakistan.



December 1969
Photo by Neil Armstrong

003 12 1969 5 Famous National Geographic Covers


Buzz Aldrin stands on the lunar surface.



October 1978
Photo by Koko

004 10 1978 5 Famous National Geographic Covers


A newly minted National Geographic photographer makes her own self-portrait.



October 2009
Photo by Michael Nichols/National Geographic

013 10 2009 5 Famous National Geographic Covers


Part of a portrait made up of 84 shots, taken as cameras rode a rope rigged by canopy ecologist Jim C. Spickler.