National Geographic : 1993 Sep
On Assignment uttering up a bullheaded sub ject, staff photographer BRUCE DALE befriends a visi tor to his Pecos River campsite (above). "It was a peace offering," he explains. "We were on its terri tory." Though he has traveled to more than 75 countries in his 29 year career at National Geographic, Bruce's own territory has lately been the American West, where recent assignments have included the Santa Fe Trail, Geronimo's Southwest, and the Pecos. Ohio-born Bruce went profes sional while still in high school, sell ing photographs to his hometown newspapers. At 25 he joined the Geographic staff. "I thought I'd be here for two years at most," he says. Bruce won the White House News Photographers' Association Photographer of the Year award in 1988 and has twice been named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association and the University of Missouri. The secret of his success? "The best images are serendipi tous," says Bruce. "I plan on the unplanned picture." For his first 25 years at the Geo graphic, THOMAS ABERCROMBIE (below, at left) did double duty as writer and photographer. In 1985 he hung up his camera in deference to the written word. This month's arti cle on the breakup of Czechoslova kia marks Tom's 40th assignment. Weeks before the historic "velvet divorce," Tom interviewed the for mer leader of Czechoslovakia, play wright Vaclav Havel, in his home, JOYCE DALE where they were surrounded by aides. "He smoked cigarettes, and I smoked a pipe," says Tom. "Our smoke screen was the closest thing we had to privacy." Havel has since accepted a more limited role as president of the new Czech Repub lic. "I think he realized that the days when intellectuals could govern the country were passing," Tom says. "It was time for professional politi cians to get involved." JAMESL. STANFIELD NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC (ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHE NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,1145 17THST. N.W., WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAID AT WASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SEND ADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O. BOX 2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.