National Geographic Photographer 1

National Geographic Photographer

Special assignment by Mark Seymour on Kolkata

How the project came about

Becoming a Nikon Ambassador has certainly opened many amazing doors for me but non greater than being given an opportunity to have my work published as a National Geographic Photographer in this iconic magazine that we all see in many receptions around the world.

Three years ago Nikon approached me and asked as part of my street and travel photography courses could I do a presentation at the National Geographic Traveller show in London giving a talk on how to get into travel photography, how to prepare your trip and what to do once you are there along with talking about various techniques to make your images varied and more interesting.

Lady Luck

As they say luck always plays a huge part and today was one of those special days ! The co-ordinator from National Geographic that was going to be present during my talk turned out to be the key person within the organisation when I found out after asking 'So who is responsible for the allocation of photographic projects within the magazine'  .... to which I received the reply... 'Its me' I was kinda knocked of my feet and immediately knew that this was one of those opportunities that when presented you grasp with both hands!

The room was packed with over 150 paying photographers wanting to hear how I had managed to make this my career and to develop themselves into this genre of travel and documentary photography. The rest as they say is history with a meeting quickly set up at their London publication office to discuss shooting a furture project and for me to present my portfolio of street photography from around the world. My work was highly praised by the picture editor but with the caveat that although the imagery is more than good enough there is not enough detail and scene setting pictures to make a great magazine article.

We'll be in touch

Some fifteen months later and several meetings I finally received that call asking if I could shoot a seven page feature for April's issue on Kolkata, as a National Geographic Photographer, a place I knew extremley well.

The brief came through with a journalist assigned to me to word the article along with some must have shots , some ideas but overall to give me artistic licence to shoot my style of images.

The Shoot

November came and I was fortunate to tag the National Geographic shoot onto the end of one of the street and travel photography courses I was holding for Nikon Uk in Kolkata that I have now been holding for five years. Included in the final images given to the magazine to select from I included many of my favourite photographs of street scenes in Kolkata along with images specifically photographed for the commission of some of the iconic buildings and locations along with small details that people would encounter on their personal travels when the visit Kolkata.

The seven page featured in National Geographic Magazine


Would you like to travel with Mark Seymour to Kolkata.. check out his courses here


See more work in Kolkata here





Nagaland Headhunters 2

Nagaland Headhunters

Nagaland was always on my bucket list as a place to visit of the beaten track so I finally decided to go and recce the place and try and make contact with the tribal people as they are amongst the lat headhunters in the world today ( they abandoned this parctice in the mid 1970's )

Nagaland is not the easist of places to get to with a limited road network and basic roads so I decided to firstly fly to Gurwhati airport in Assam and after spending a couple of days there photographing around the Kamakhya Temple which is very old Hindu temple where Godess Kamakhya is worshipped we started the journey through Kazingra park and into Nagaland with my guide and fixer.

As we travelled thru Assam we stopped of spending time with the Maya tribe photographing most of the village people on a tobacco lastolite background.

Once we entered Nagaland through an old checkpoint reminiscent of days gone by the roads were really quite bumpy and mainly without a tar surface . It took us two days to reach Mon where we spent the day with the Mon tribe both photographing them and just spending time in their huts with a large open fire drinking freashly brewed coffee.

The following day we started or asscent up into the Nagahills to Longwa to spend time with the Longhwa tribal people staying overnight in the only hotel in the vicinity which I can safely say was the most basic accomodation I have ever enjoyed with no running water and no heating !

In the morning we made our way to visit the tribesman wher we spent a long day with them witnessing their opium ceremony , firing their muzzel loaded rifels and drinking home made coffee over an open firepit. It was just one of the best experiences that Ive so far had.


Click on the video to see




Nagaland  in the north-east of India It borders the state of Assam to the west and Myanmar to the east. Nagaland is mostly mountainous except those areas bordering Assam valley.

Nagaland is inhabited by 16 main tribes - Ao, Angami, Chang, Konyak, Lotha, Sumi, Chakhesang, Khiamniungan, Kachari, Phom, Rengma, Sangtam, Yimchungrü, Kuki, Zeliang and Pochury as well as a number of sub-tribes.Each tribe is unique in character with its own distinct customs, language and dress. Two threads common to all, is language and religion - English is in predominant use and Nagaland is one of three states in India where the population is mainly christian, with conversions starting in the British Raj era.

The Konyak tribe is one of the many Naga tribes. But what sets them apart from the rest of the tribes of this northeastern Indian state was their headhunting history, which was part of their strong warrior tradition. Territorial conflicts between rival tribes and villages were resolved through warfare and Konyaks were feared for their headhunting skills. This stopped in the late sixties


The Kamakhya temple

Guwahati and the famous Kamakhya temple. A very popular pilgrimage site for Hindu's The templeit was built to symbolise and honour the deity Kamakhya and represents the female power of Shakti and celebrates a woman’s ability to conceive. The temple doesn’t have an idol of Kamakhya to worship but a yoni (vagina). According to legend it marks the site where Sati’s womb fell.

To see more from my trip

Background vintage collapsible background tobacco-olive

Nikon D850

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