National Geographic : 2012 Jun
EDITOR'S NOTE ART: GRAFILU Some of us plan ahead by setting aside money for a rainy day or--- looking even more forward---for retirement. But China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, took the longest view of all. He ordered up an army of thousands of life-size terra-cotta warriors armed with bronze weapons to be buried near his tomb to protect him for all eternity. Lou Mazzatenta, whose photographs illustrate this month's story on the latest finds from the extraordinary burial site near Xian, started at the magazine in 1961 as an intern in the illustrations department. Afterward, he took a job at the Minneapolis Tribune, served in the Army, then returned to this magazine for a 30-year-long career track that included jobs as illustrations editor, head of layout and design, and finally director of the control center (which kept track of the complexities of production). Still, Lou's real love was getting out in the field to photograph stories, which he somehow managed to do while wearing his other hats. Lou retired in 1994, but that's a technicality at best. "Terra-Cotta Warriors in Color" is his 13th story since that so-called retirement, and it also happens to be his third story on the same subject. You might say that Lou, who loves working in China, is our ambassador to the Republic of the Terra-Cotta Soldier. He regards these magnificent clay artifacts with respect and reverence, and the Chinese archaeologists, in turn, respect him. "I think I may be the only foreign photographer allowed right on the pit floor eye to eye with the warriors," he told me, and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if it turned out to be so. Our Man in China Lou's real love is getting out in the field.