Welcome from Andy Dorn
As a child, I grew up in an era before the current digital age. Places were not hyper-connected like in today’s globalized age, with no internet nor the ability to travel internationally. We were largely confined to our local areas. Foreign countries on maps were just names, it was hard to know much about many of the far-flung and off-the-beaten-track places, and the people that inhabited them. But once a month something arrived in the school library that had the power to transport me and my friends to different places and allow us to see more of the wider world, this was National Geographic magazine. Flicking through its pages of photos and articles allowed us to see environments and cultures that had previously been completely foreign to us.
Today we live in a globalized and hyper-connected world. We can use the internet to find out about just about anywhere on the planet. Youtube, TikTok, and Netflix give us 24-hour-a-day access to different cultures and ways of life. Perhaps paradoxically, we have become so overloaded with the quantity of information that we have become swamped. With continual access to the wider world via a phone in our hands, we rarely stop to slow down to actually engage with the places around us.
NIST Geographic has several aims. For the students that create the magazine, they get to slow down, explore, engage, and connect more with the world around them more closely. From engagement also comes learning and a new understanding of these places. Ansel Adams, the legendary American landscape photographer once said “I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful—an endless prospect of magic and wonder.” NIST Geographic aims to capture moments of magic and wonder and share them with a wider audience.
While an image has the power to move us, stories inform us more deeply about Geographies. Geography explores the natural and human worlds, and importantly, the interconnectedness between them. We hope to tell stories about places and people and raise awareness of various important issues that impact us all.
We are fortunate to live in Bangkok, a fascinating global city that, pre-COVID, was also the most visited tourist city in the world. All we have to do is go out of the school gate and we can have rich experiences of people and places in this eclectic city. Similarly, we are in a country that is blessed with abundant natural and cultural resources, from reefs and rainforests and sea gypsies in the South to forested mountains in the north populated by a myriad of hill tribe people rich in traditional cultures. So we aim to celebrate the place we live and the places we are fortunate to travel to.
Welcome to the first issue of NIST Geographic. It’s our hope that the first issue will connect with the NIST community and enrich them in some way, and that we have more people join us to explore our world and create photography and articles for the further issues to come.