Best known f­or his exploration photography, George Steinmetz has a restless curiosity for the unknown: remote deserts, obscure cultures and the ­mysteries of science and technology.

Why you should listen

Since 1986, George Steinmetz has completed more than 40 major photo essays for National Geographic and 25 stories for GEO magazine in Germany, exploring the most remote str­etches of Arabia's Empty Quarter to the­ unknown tree people of Irian Jaya. His expeditions to the Sahara and Gobi deserts have been featured in separate "National Geographic Explorer" programs. In 2006 he was awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to document the work of scientists in the Dry Valleys and volcanoes of Antarctica.

Steinmetz began his career in photography after hitchhiking through Africa for 28 months. He then spent fifteen years photographing all of the world’s extreme deserts while piloting a motorized paraglider. This experimental aircraft enables him to capture unique images of the world, inaccessible by traditional aircraft and most other modes of transportation. He has authored four books, and his current project is documenting the challenge of meeting humanity’s rapidly expanding demand for food.

George Steinmetz’s TED talk

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