The Ultimate Coffee Table Book: 125 Years of National Geographic:

In 1957, before Photoshop and filters and Instagrammable pictures of yourself, there were simply photographers who took photos. Like this one, from B. Anthony Stewart taken off shore from Manhattan in that year for National Geographic magazine.

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Perched on wooden stilsts, Singhalese men fish for spotted herring in the monsoon-lashed surf pounding Sri Lanka’s south coast. When the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami crashed over these same beaches, it took the lives of 35,000 Singhalese with it

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Included in the book is a photograph of the Mayflower II, a replica of the original 17th-century Pilgrim ship, entering New York harbour has not been touched up.  Nor is the US navy airship a photo shopped addition, but represented part of the welcoming flotilla. On the day, that grand plan turned to farce as the ship, which had travelled across the Atlantic Ocean entirely under canvas, was back winded by a passing helicopter and had to be towed to her berth. Dems the brakes.

A plethora of equally awe-inspiring images and the stories behind them are collected in a three volume series celebrating 125 years of National Geographic’s work, a quick flick through which will make all those city skyline snaps you took on your phone seem a little lame by comparison. Sorry about that. This is a must have for 2014…

National Geographic: Around The World in 125 Years (Taschen) is out now

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