Photograph by Emory Kristof
Photograph courtesy Emory Kristof
A pioneer of innovative, high-tech underwater photography using robot cameras and remotely operated vehicles, Emory Kristof has been a National Geographic photographer since beginning as an intern for the magazine in 1963.
Kristof created the preliminary designs of the electronic camera system for the Argo vehicle, which found the Titanic. He led photographic surveys of the C.S.S. Alabama off the coast of France in 1992 and the 16th-century wreck San Diego in the Philippines in 1993. In 1995, he led an expedition to recover the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald and produced the first deep-water images with high-definition TV.
Kristof's "Testing the Waters of Rongelap," published in National Geographic magazine in April 1998, recorded oceanic life in the nuclear weapons-contaminated waters surrounding the Marshall Islands. In August 1998, Kristof's pictures of the Titanic were presented in the National Geographic article "Tragedy in Three Dimensions." The pictures, recorded in 1991 using high-intensity lighting systems, appeared in unprecedented detail because of advances in 3-D computer video-editing.
Born in 1942, Kristof studied journalism at the University of Maryland at College Park and received a bachelor's degree in 1964. A National Geographic staff photographer from 1964 to 1994, he has produced forty-some articles for the magazine.
Kristof has earned many awards for both writing and photography, including the NOGI Award for Arts from the Underwater Society of America in 1988 and the Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award for Underwater Exploration in 1986. That same year, Kristof and Robert Ballard received the American Society of Magazine Publishers Innovation in Photography Award for their photographic coverage of the Titanic. In 1998, Kristof was presented with the J. Winton Lemen Fellowship Award by the National Press Photographers Association "for being one of our profession's most imaginative innovators." In 2001 Kristof was named a contributing photographer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society.
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