Former National Geographic editor-in-chief Chris Johns to give two talks at Oregon State

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Former National Geographic editor-in-chief and Oregon State University alumnus Chris Johns will speak twice at OSU in coming weeks about storytelling through photography in different genres.

Johns will present “Witness: War Photographers on the Battle Ground” at an in-person lecture from 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, at the LaSells Stewart Center C&E Room, 875 SW 26th St. on the Corvallis campus. The event is free and open to the public with no registration required; seating in the 200-person space will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For the second event, Johns will lecture with OSU Distinguished Professor of Ecology Bill Ripple for the OSU Alumni Association’s Travel Talk webcast series. They will present on “Yellowstone Storytelling Through Art and Science,” 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1. See this webpage for more information and to register for the free event, which will show a trailer of “A Second Warning,” an upcoming documentary about Ripple’s work.

On May 25, Johns will share images and insights from conflicts dating back to the 1855 war in Crimea through present day, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His presentation will explore how wartime photos bring wars “home” for millions of people and influence public opinion and public policy in response to armed conflicts worldwide.

“It’s unfortunate that this lecture is so timely and relevant,” said Tim Jensen, director of OSU’s School of Writing, Literature and Film, which is co-sponsoring the lecture with OSU Productions. “Given recent events both domestic and abroad, it’s evident that photojournalism remains a critical source for information, insight, and impassioned response.

“Chris Johns knows that powerful photography is more than the image itself. It’s the story the photograph conjures that moves us — and that’s precisely why Chris has produced so many iconic images over his impressive career. And it’s also why his understanding of conflict photography is so illuminating.”

Johns graduated from OSU in 1974 and currently serves as a strategic advisor to the National Geographic Society. He is also a member of the advisory council for the Oregon Stater alumni magazine and will work with student journalists in the upcoming year through mentorship and classroom collaborations.

The May 25 lecture will be recorded by OSU Productions as part of their feature-length documentary about Johns’ career, “The Wonder and the Worry.” A trailer of this film will also be shown in the June 1 webcast.

For accommodation requests related to a disability, contact Molly McFerran, 541-737-3244, swlf.mainoffice@oregonstate.edu for the May 25 event; and Kate Sanders, 541-737-2351, kate.sanders@osualum.com for the June 1 event.

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