Bill Bonner has a truly incredible gig; as the archivist for the National Geographic‘s collection of vintage photographs, he’s in charge of nearly eight million images, illustrations, and autochromes that cover the past couple hundred years. And he loves his job just as much as you’d imagine.
This mini-profile shows Bonner in his element, sorting white gloved through the stacks and stacks of visual treasures — many of which have never been published before. By his count he’s seen every single picture in every single file — a staggering feat! — and his poetic take on the prints is really lovely. “They’re kind of like living ghosts; shadows of history that you can actually see,” he says. “There’s pictures of people like us. Doing their thing. Living their life… It makes you think and reflect.”
The amount of time he spends poring over this physical media is definitely a contrast to the endless scrolling most of us go through on a daily basis. It’s refreshing hearing how he never tires of his work, and finds himself discovering more beauty everyday.