National Geographic : 1991 Apr
On Assignment Shared fascination with ancient peoples drew three veteran GEOGRAPHIC staffers into enthusiastic teamwork that has resulted in articles on the victims of Vesuvius at Herculaneum (May 1984), the Etruscans (June 1988), and now on pharaonic Egypt. Lou MAZZATENTA (above) has photographed 13 articles during a 28-year career that has taken him from picture editing to directing the Control Center, the magazine's op erations room. He found the Sphinx and the Ramses colossi mesmeriz ing. "I was familiar with Roman antiquities, but I wasn't prepared for the scale of these monuments; the corridor leading to Ramses' tomb is as long as a football field." For illustrations editor ELIE ROG ERS (center), 21 years on staff, this assignment meant going home; he was born in Alexandria and lived in Cairo before coming to the U. S . as a university student. Visiting a theme park called Pharaonic Village that demonstrates daily life in antiq uity, colleagues talked Elie into assuming a king's garb in an open air photo studio. Elie's command of Arabic and his friendship with offi cials helped smooth the team's way. Gaining background for the article was so intense, Elie says, "I learned more about Egyptian history than when I was growing up there." The blank serenity of Ramses colossi, like this at Tanis, frustrated writer RICK GORE as he sought the personality behind the facade. "I came to see Ramses as a metaphor for a civilization whose remnants are eroding before we have time to un derstand them," he says. "There are so many missing pieces. Perhaps the most important is the ancient Egyp tian mind-set, in which magic and unseen forces reigned supreme." Rick is accustomed to a more ra tional outlook. During his 17-year career at the magazine, most of his 31 articles have focused on science. PHOTOGRAPHSBY O. LOUIS MAZZATENTA(CENTER) AND ELIE S. ROGERS NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC(ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHE NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY,17THANDM STS. N.W., WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR, $2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAID AT WASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SENDADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O . BOX2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.