Photography of Wade Davis

“Cultural survival is not about preservation, sequestering indigenous peoples

in enclaves like some sort of zoological specimens. Change itself does note destroy a culture. All societies are constantly evolving. Indeed a culture survives when it has enough confidence in its past and enough say in its future to maintain its spirit and essence through all the changes it will inevitably undergo. ”
Wade Davis, The Wayfinders

Wade Davis is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity."


Davis is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). His photographs have appeared in some 20 books and more than 80 magazines, journals and newspapers, including National Geographic, Time, Geo, People, Men’s Journal, Outside, and National Geographic Adventure.


They have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography (I.C.P.), the Marsha Ralls Gallery, Washington, D.C., the United Nations (Cultures on the Edge exhibition 2004), the Carpenter Center of Harvard University, and the Utama Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Select images are part of the permanent collection of the U.S. State Department, Africa and Latin America Bureaus.

Davis is the co-curator of The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes, first exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and currently touring Latin America.

A first collection of Davis’ photographs, Light at the Edge of the World, appeared in 2001 published by National Geographic Books, Bloomsbury and Douglas & McIntyre. A second collection is under contract for fall 2011 publication with Douglas & McIntyre.

Photography books

  • Davis, Wade, Ian MacKenzie, and Shane Kennedy (1995), Nomads of the Dawn: The Penan of the Borneo Rain Forest.
  • Osborne, Graham (Photographs) and Wade Davis (Text) (1998), Rainforest: Ancient Realm of the Pacific Northwest White River Junction, Vermont, Chelsea Green Publishing Company.
  • Davis, Wade (2004), The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes, Chronicle Books (Intro by Andrew Weil).

As editor

  • Davis, Wade and K. David Harrison (2008) Book of Peoples of the World: A Guide to Cultures, National Geographic, (2nd edition).


  • Light at the Edge of the World: Science of the Mind, directed by Andrew Gregg, produced by Wade Davis and Andrew Gregg for National Geographic
  • 2008 Host/co-writer/co-producer Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey, 2 hour special for the History Channel based on the books One River and The Lost Amazon, produced in collaboration with Gryphon Productions and filmed shot on location in New Mexico, Oaxaca, and lowland Ecuador. DVD available A&E Television Network
  • 2008 Principal character: Grand Canyon: River at Risk, 3D IMAX, MacGillivray Freeman Films, released worldwide Spring 2008.
  • 2002 “The Explorer” Life and Times. 1 hr biographical documentary produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) DVD by Monarch Films, October, 2008
  • 1993 Narrator/co-writer "Cry of the Forgotten Land" 1 hour documentary on the Moi people of West Papua, New Guinea.
  • 1992 Host and co-writer. "The Spirit of the Mask" 1 hour documentary produced by Gryphon Productions
  • 1991 Host and co-writer " Earthguide" 13 part documentary on environmental issues, Cinetel Productions for the Discovery Channel.


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about Wade Davis