“The Long Shadow of Chernobyl” iPad app was just re-released for iOS 8, with a new design and updated material. For those who already had the earlier version, a free update is available via the App Store.

Spanning Gerd Ludwig’s two decades of documentation of the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, the groundbreaking work explores the human and environmental impact since the disaster, including photos from Ludwig’s most recent trips to Chernobyl, taken in early 2011 as the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant was unfolding and in 2013, as the tourist industry expanded in the Exclusion Zone.

Purchase from the App Store here:

“The Long Shadow of Chernobyl” is a joint production of Gerd Ludwig Photography and Lightbox Press, now built on the ScrollMotion software platform.


Coinciding with his story on LA Food Trucks in the July issue of National Geographic Magazine, Gerd Ludwig is leading a weekend of events at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, June 27-28. He is teaching a beginner’s photography workshop and an advanced photography workshop (admission includes a lunch voucher).

Using images from his National Geographic assignments worldwide, and focusing on the food trucks as a practical example, Gerd will instruct workshop participants how to make engaging and memorable photographs of everyday life that can be applied anywhere around the world. His approaches when photographing for National Geographic can be utilized in a variety of circumstances. Gerd will openly share his own photographic techniques, specifically the methods he used photographing food truck food, people enjoying the trucks, and the trucks themselves. In general, he will reveal his tricks and tips to create candid, unexpected and unique images in uncontrolled environments.

For more information on all events and to register:

To read the National Geographic story:

Food Trucks

Gerd Ludwig’s latest assignment for National Geographic Magazine, “On a Roll,” published in the July 2015 issue with text by David Brindley, is a departure from his usual, more serious documentary photography. Gerd followed food trucks in Los Angeles to capture the emerging gourmet food truck culture, the wide range of foods, the creatively decorated trucks, and their enthusiastic customers.

View the article and photo gallery online:

Read the NatGeo PROOF blog post, with more images:


Gerd Ludwig has been named as one of the 9 recipients of the 2015 Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. The Missouri School of Journalism has awarded this honor medal annually since 1930 to outstanding journalists, advertising and public relations practitioners, business people, institutions and media organizations from around the world. Medalists are selected by the faculty of the School on the basis of lifetime or superior achievement in journalism. Previous recipients include Christiane Amanpour, Tom Brokaw, Sir Winston Churchill, David Granger, Deborah Howell, Gordon Parks, and Gloria Steinem. The award ceremony will take place on October 26 on the University of Missouri campus.

For more information:

Alfred Fried Award Winner 2014

The Alfred Fried Award prize amount was just increased to 10,000 euros, and the contest’s deadline was extended to May 24, 2015. Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will give the Keynote Speech at the award ceremony.

Gerd Ludwig will be serving on the Jury for the Alfred Fried Photography Award for the second year in a row. The Fried Award is given annually by The Photographische Gesellschaft (PHG) in Austria and Edition Lammerhuber in partnership with UNESCO, the Austrian Parliament, the Austrian Parliamentary Reporting Association and the International Press Institute (IPI). The award recognizes the world’s best photograph on the theme of peace.

Submission for the award is free of charge. In addition to the award of 10,000 euros, the winning photograph will be displayed at the Austrian Parliament building for a year and will then be added to the permanent collection of the Parliament. The Alfred Fried Award Ceremony takes place this year on September 17, just before the UN International Peace Day.

For more information on the award and submission process, visit

Above: Photographer Emil Gataullin was the 2014 Alfred Fried Award winner for his work “Towards the Horizon.”


PDN (Photo District News) is the most important publication for professional photographers in the US, with a monthly reach of over 500,000 in print & online. PDN is the recipient of two Lucie Awards and the seven-time winner of the Neal Award for Editorial Excellence from American Business Media. Each year, in their PDN Annual competition, a panel of renowned judges from all disciplines of photography select the best works in 7 professional categories.

It was just announced that Gerd Ludwig’s book, “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl,” with an essay by Mikhail Gorbachev, published by Edition Lammerhuber, was named one of the best photo books of the year in the PDN Annual.

For more information:

To purchase signed copies of the book:

The Long Shadow of Chernobyl

The Long Shadow of Chernobyl continues to receive acclaim worldwide. First the German-language edition, then the international editions of VICE published an interview with Gerd online, coinciding with the 29th anniversary of the disaster. LensCulture featured an in-depth review of the book as well.

The book has also been honored with three additional awards. It received the Silver Cube for Photography/Book from the Global Art Director’s Club, the Federation of European Photographers named it the Documentary Photo Book of the Year, and the One Eyeland Awards gave it a silver medal.

VICE (English):

VICE (German):


Art Director’s Club:

Federation of European Photographers:

One Eyeland:


Gerd Ludwig will participate on a MOPLA panel discussion about crowdfunding photography projects, following his two successful Kickstarter campaigns focused on his work in Chernobyl. The discussion will take place at the Santa Monica Art Studios at 6 pm on Sunday, April 26.

Sponsored by ASMP-LA and moderated by Hossein Farmani, the panel also includes Sara Terry, Matt Austin, and Dawn Bowery. Admission is free, with mandatory RSVP.

More information about the event:



Gerd Ludwig will be speaking about his two decades of work documenting the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles on April 21, just before the 29th anniversary of the disaster on April 26. The Goethe-Institut is the worldwide cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany. They promote knowledge of the German language abroad and foster international cultural cooperation.

Gerd’s lecture will be held in English and starts at 7 pm, with a reception following. Gerd will also be signing copies of The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, his 20-year retrospective photo book. Admission to the lecture is free of charge, but RSVP is mandatory.

For more information on the project:

For more information on the lecture:


The Art of Storytelling - Salton Sea

The Art of Storytelling – The Salton Sea

A 5 ½ day Documentary Photography Workshop with Gerd Ludwig
Los Angeles & Salton Sea, May 28 – June 2, 2015

This 5 ½ day workshop by National Geographic Photographer Gerd Ludwig is for photographers and committed amateurs who want to take their photography to the next level. It concentrates on the aesthetic, technical, and logistical aspects of photographing with personal vision and balanced objectivity. It is designed to help photographers develop a personal eye and to leave feeling inspired.

Participants will meet at Gerd’s unique home in the Hollywood Hills for 1 ½ days of portfolio reviews, instruction and theory, before shooting for 3 days at California’s Salton Sea. A day in LA filled with editing and sequencing, followed by a joint presentation of the final results, concludes the workshop.

For more information:

The Art of Storytelling - Salton Sea

The Art of Storytelling – The Salton Sea

A 5 ½ day Documentary Photography Workshop with Gerd Ludwig
Los Angeles & Salton Sea, May 28 – June 2, 2015

This 5 ½ day workshop by National Geographic Photographer Gerd Ludwig is for photographers and committed amateurs who want to take their photography to the next level. It concentrates on the aesthetic, technical, and logistical aspects of photographing with personal vision and balanced objectivity. It is designed to help photographers develop a personal eye and to leave feeling inspired.

Participants will meet at Gerd’s unique home in the Hollywood Hills for 1 ½ days of portfolio reviews, instruction and theory, before shooting for 3 days at California’s Salton Sea. A day in LA filled with editing and sequencing, followed by a joint presentation of the final results, concludes the workshop.


In the afternoon of Day 1, we will all gather at my home for portfolio reviews. Day 2 is reserved for exploring the techniques of storytelling. I will outline the structural elements and differences between a reportage, series, and essay and share the personal approaches I use to create my own stories for National Geographic Magazine, accompanied by various sample presentations.

In the early evening, we will relocate to the Salton Sea, jointly checking into a small inn.

On Days 3, 4 and 5 we will be leaving early in the mornings for full days of shooting. As I have spent many months along the Salton Sea for NatGeo and personal projects, I will lead you to the most interesting locations that offer ample opportunities for amazing photographs. During these days, I will be in the field with you, giving hands-on advice on technical, compositional, and structural levels. The evenings are for downloading, captioning, and pre-editing, and additional instructions.

After returning to LA in the evening of day 5, we will convene the next morning (Day 6) at my home for a last round of editing, toning, and sequencing the work. The course will culminate with each photographer presenting his/her photographs to the class for feedback.

Be prepared for long hours of shooting, editing, critiquing and interacting with one another and with me (don’t worry, you will have fun too).


Gerd will emphasize the process of finding and researching subjects, photographing people in an intimate fashion, making photographs that communicate emotionally as well as editorially, and using aesthetics in a sophisticated manner. Workshop participants will be encouraged to take professional risks to produce top quality work worthy of publications, books or galleries.

Technical discussions will focus on how to use photographic tools in real-world scenarios to capture atmosphere and mood, while maintaining a sense of place; approach subjects and establish trust in order to photograph people in an intimate fashion; use form, lighting, and color in a sophisticated manner to communicate emotionally as well as editorially; balance a personal point of view while respecting a subject’s situation; and use focused editing to reveal a story’s essential truth. Gerd will share his own photographic techniques, such as his choice of cameras, lenses, lighting, strobes, and filters. He will explain how capturing quality images at extremely high ISOs has enabled him to tackle stories for National Geographic Magazine that previously were impossible to explore (Moscow Never Sleeps, Chernobyl, Russian Orthodox Church, Sleeping Cars etc).

Gerd will address the changing market for photographers, and how to expand short assignments into long-term personal projects using the latest fund-raising, distribution, and marketing methods. As a pioneer in crowdfunding, Gerd successfully financed a recent trip to the Chernobyl zone via Kickstarter and ran a second successful Kickstarter campaign to publish his award-winning 20-year retrospective book “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl,” which accompanies his interactive multimedia iPad app.

Throughout the workshop, critiques will take place, both in groups and individually. In meetings with the students, Gerd will be available for advice on personal photographic aspirations.

Students must bring their own photographic equipment, laptops, and storage drives.



The basic workshop fee is $1185 per student. To sign up, please send your deposit of $185 through Paypal to [email protected] Please contact us if you have any questions. A second payment of $500 is due by May 8th and the final balance of $500 is due by May 22nd. The workshop is limited to 7 students.

Students from out of town will need to find their own accommodation for their days in Los Angeles. To make it more affordable for some, there will be two rooms available in Gerd’s home for the first two students to request it, for an additional $40 per night. Please contact us directly to reserve a room.

The rooms at the Salton Sea will run about $70 per night, but participants have the option of sharing rooms to cut the cost. Please contact us if that is an option you are interested in. Transportation to, at, and from the Salton Sea from LA is included in the workshop fee. However, students are free to use their own car to get to the Salton Sea.

All payments are non-refundable. If a participant cancels, the first 2 payments will become a credit towards future workshops.

During the month of the workshop, each participant will also receive a 25% discount on the purchase of one item from and a discount on one item from Adorama and one item from Sigma. Discounts cannot be combined.

Pay through PayPal

All payments are non-refundable. If a participant cancels, the first two payments will become a credit towards future workshops.


The Salton Sea is California’s largest, most troubled lake and an all-American ecosystem gone haywire. 35 miles long and 15 miles wide, it lies 227 feet below sea level with no outlet and very thirsty neighbors. It offers a wide range of opportunities for amazing photographs.

Check out the following websites:


Born in Alsfeld, Germany, Gerd Ludwig studied Photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts (Folkwangschule) in Essen, Germany, and graduated in 1972. The following year he co-founded VISUM, Germany’s first photographer-owned agency, and began working for publications such as Geo, Stern, Spiegel, Fortune, Time, and Life. In 1984 he re-located to New York, and signed on as a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine in the early 1990s. His focus on environmental issues and the socio-economic changes following the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc resulted in his book and exhibit, Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR, a ten-year retrospective published by National Geographic. His ongoing coverage of post Soviet Russia has garnered his distinction as being the world’s foremost color photographer documenting the region. His ongoing work after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster resulted in the publication of an acclaimed iPad App and the trilingual Long Shadow of Chernobyl photo book, which was recently named the POYi Photo Book of the Year.

Now based in Los Angeles, Gerd Ludwig continues his work for National Geographic Magazine, photographs personal projects, lectures at universities, teaches photographic workshops, and exhibits his photographs in galleries and museums around the world. He is the recipient of the 2006 Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year and the 2014 Dr. Erich-Salomon Award, the highest lifetime achievement award in editorial photography in Germany.


“It was an incredible opportunity for me to learn from National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig. With his personal instruction he taught me to see the emotional side of a photo, taking my passion for photography to a new level. His vision opened my eyes to a different perspective of the world.”
– Steffi Graff, tennis champion

“Of all the workshops I’ve taken, the one that made the biggest impact on me was a two day workshop with Gerd at the Salton Sea. I’ll never forget being dropped off by myself in Niland with only 45 minutes to take an environmental portrait of a total stranger in their home. I had never done anything like that before; but, Gerd had taken the time to share his own stories and offer advice about approaching sensitive situations as a photographer. I ended up meeting and photographing a wonderful family. He pushed each student beyond their comfort zones as photographers. It was an invaluable lesson.”
– Robert Larson, photographer

“During Gerd’s workshop at the Salton Sea, he pushed us to try new techniques, such as using remote flashes and gels, in order to help us get a feel for what the equipment was capable of, and how to use it to get interesting shots that would have been impossible any other way. He helped us see things we had missed, or better ways to approach the scene – encouraging us to get closer and see in different ways. At one point, I found myself standing ankle-deep in dead fish and algae, fighting to keep up with him as we tried to find the best shot – flash in one hand, camera in the other, and toes crossed that I’d be able to avoid tumbling headlong into a pile of rotting muck – while he helped me figure out how to set up shots in ways I had never considered, and how to wield the equipment in ways that proffered uncharted results. I have never learned as much, or had quite so much fun, as I did those days out in the desert with Gerd and his team.”
– Kristen Zephyrus, photographer

“Organizing ten years’ worth of materials for a long-term project, Gerd helped me make better choices in the edit and achieve more clarity in the book design. I appreciate his rigor and candor, while helping ensure that my photos found their best presentation. It’s rare to find a teacher who balances trenchant criticism with unwavering support for your work and your vision. Gerd is a great critic and advocate.”
– Preston Merchant, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Berlin in National Geographic Germany

National Geographic Magazine published a timely story in its March 2015 issue examining two world capitals cast into opposing roles by the euro crisis: Athens and Berlin. It is a thoughtful evaluation of the two cities, which “were forced into a relationship neither wanted – northern lender, southern borrower. Now they’re emblems of a divided Europe longing for unity” as author Adam Nicolson puts it.

The story is accompanied by Gerd Ludwig’s photographs of Berlin which show the German capital as a youthful, vibrant and multicultural city influenced by its rough past, embracing a bright present and hoping for a safe future. Magnum photographer Alex Majoli captured Athens.

To see the story online:

To read an earlier piece on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall:

Pripyat, Ukraine

Gerd Ludwig’s trilingual photo book, The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, published by Edition Lammerhuber, was just named Photo Book of the Year by Pictures of the Year International (POYi).

Pictures of the Year International (POYi) is the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism program in the world. POYi’s mission is to honor and promote the work of documentary photographers, magazine, newspaper, and freelance photojournalists. POYi’s worldwide competition sets the gold standard for excellence in documentary photography, photojournalism, visual editing, and online multimedia. Each year, more than 48,000 works are submitted to the contest by photojournalists from over 70 nations, who document the news events, social issues, and cultural trends.

Gerd’s captivating images of his nine visits to Chernobyl in 20 years tell tragic stories of the lives of the victims, the Exclusion Zone and the abandoned city of Pripyat – and he ventured deeper into the belly of the beast than any Western still photographer, repeatedly documenting the destroyed reactor #4, which will soon disappear under a New Safe Confinement.

An essay by Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of state of the Soviet Union, accompanies Gerd’s emotional visual narrative. This book is an important body of documentary work in view of the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima 25 years later.

For info on POYi and to see the Winner’s Gallery:

For more information on Gerd’s work in Chernobyl:

To purchase a signed copy of The Long Shadow of Chernobyl:


After shooting for National Geographic for over 25 years, it was a given that Gerd Ludwig became one of the first members of The Photo Society (TPS), a collective of contributing National Geographic photographers. TPS has enjoyed tremendous success on their Instagram account, recently reaching the milestone of 1 million followers. To celebrate, this month’s Instagram contest is bigger than ever. It will be judged by John Stanmeyer, and the winner will receive a gift card to Adorama and their image posted on the TPS feed. For more information, follow @thephotosociety on Instagram for the rules and entry instructions.


Gerd Ludwig will present his lecture “Winds of Change” during the Exposure Festival in Calgary on February 26. Gerd will share images from his life in photography, concentrating on his experiences capturing the colossal changes following the dissolution of the Soviet Union to this very day. Resonating with a full scale of emotion, his images have garnered his distinction as the world’s foremost color photographer documenting the region. From the broken empire’s legacy of environmental exploitation, to the warp-speed economic transformation of Russia, Gerd Ludwig reveals a many-faceted people, by turns suspicious and sympathetic, greedy and generous, stoic and exuberant.

The presentation will span from early work in his native Germany, his stories published in National Geographic since the 1990s, up to recent stories in Kazakhstan, the Ukraine, and Germany. After first photographing the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster for National Geographic in 1993, he returned several times since. Recently he ventured deeper into the failed reactor than ever before and returned with haunting images, which will be part of his presentation and a recently published monograph The Long Shadow of Chernobyl.

To register for the lecture, visit


The Long Shadow of Chernobyl was selected as one of four books published by ASMP Members for inclusion in their 2014 Year-End edition of the ASMP Bulletin.

To see the article in the ASMP Bulletin, see:

Gerd Ludwig on German Greenpeace Podcast

The German-language Greenpeace podcast recently posted a 20-minute radio interview with Gerd Ludwig about Chernobyl, his book, and iPad app, which was aired on several radio stations in and around Berlin.

To listen to the interview:


Gerd Ludwig in MANUAL Magazine

The German men’s magazine MANUAL, in its recent issue #3, published an in-depth interview with Gerd Ludwig, covering his work in Chernobyl, his trilingual book The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, and the accompanying iPad App. The interview explores Gerd’s motivation behind the decision to put himself in danger in order to photograph Chernobyl.

To read the full article, see MANUAL Ausgabe 3 (published by Gruner + Jahr), on German newsstands now.


Gerd Ludwig’s lecture at this year’s PDN PhotoPlus Expo, “Digital Vision in Low Light” (sponsored by Canon), was selected as one of four lectures to be recapped in PDN. To read the entire article, check out the January 2015 print edition of PDN.

Berlin in National Geographic Germany
November 9, 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In these 25 years, Berlin has experienced a substantial metamorphosis. No Western metropolis has undergone the same extensive and fundamental changes as Berlin. Even as the recent growth into a booming capital of the reunited Germany nears completion, the marks and scars of history are omnipresent. Gerd’s story in the November issue of National Geographic Germany (text by Adam Nicolson) investigates why the thriving capital is so attractive to young people around the globe.

To see the full story: