Photo: Terra Cotta soldier statue

Photograph by O. Louis Mazzatenta

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Photograph courtesy O. Louis Mazzatenta

O. Louis Mazzatenta wore many hats during his 42-year career with National Geographic magazine. He served as picture editor, director of layout and design, and writer and photographer, among other roles. After retiring from the National Geographic Society in 1994, Mazzatenta continued his photographic and editorial work.

His first "retirement" job was to take charge of National Geographic's first foreign language venture. He directed the launch of National Geographic Japan, the first of many foreign language editions.

After the successful Japanese launch, Mazzatenta "retired" again. Within two months, he was off to China to photograph new excavations at the world famous site of the life-size terra-cotta army of Qin Shi Huangdi in Xi'an. His photographic report, "China's Warriors Rise From the Earth," was published in the October 1996 issue of National Geographic.

Since then, Mazzatenta has photographed many stories for National Geographic and handled studio and other photographic assignments. His work has appeared in U.S. News & World Report, Time, Newsweek, Ranger Rick, and other international publications. Exhibitions of Mazzatenta's work have appeared in Spain, New York, Italy, and elsewhere.

Though he has photographed all over the world, Mazzatenta's favorite places are China and Italy because both countries are rich in archaeology, a subject close to his heart. In China, he has photographed other terra-cotta armies and covered the Shang and Han dynasties. In Italy, he has photographed articles on the buried victims of Vesuvius at Herculaneum, the Etruscans, the Appian Way, the Brindisi Bronzes, and endangered Italian art. He takes special pride in having produced and picture-edited articles on the restoration of Michelangelo's frescoes in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.

Before joining National Geographic, Mazzatenta attended and served on the staff of the U.S. Army Information School. Earlier, he was a photographer and picture editor at the Minneapolis Tribune and other newspapers in the Midwest. He received an M.S. in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where he was a McCormack Scholar. At Kent State University, he earned his B.A. in journalism.

He lives in Clifton, Virginia, where he enjoys spending time with his 13 grandchildren.

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