Photojournalist, author, and educator Steve Raymer — a former National Geographic magazine staff photographer and editor — teaches visual journalism, media ethics, international newsgathering, and reporting war and terrorism at the Indiana University Media School. He is a tenured professor of journalism.
Raymer earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and studied Soviet and Russian affairs at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow. After service as a lieutenant in the United States Army, he joined the staff of National Geographic in 1972, launching a career that has taken him to more than 90 countries. From famines in Bangladesh and Ethiopia to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Raymer’s photographs have illustrated more than 30 bylined National Geographic magazine articles and numerous other National Geographic articles, books, and multimedia presentations.
Among his notable National Geographic reportage are stories about the global hunger crisis (1975), the construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline (1976), the worldwide illegal trade in endangered animals (1981), Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul under Soviet occupation (1985), the humanitarian work of the International Committee of the Red Cross in more than a dozen war zones around the world (1986), the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (1987), and the tumultuous birth of a new and independent Russia (1990, 1991, 1993).
From 1989 to 1995, Raymer served as director of the National Geographic Society News Service, establishing joint ventures with The New York Times, The Associated Press, and National Public Radio. He also reported from the first Persian Gulf War (1990-1991) and Vietnam as it opened to Western trade and tourism.
Raymer is author and photographer of Redeeming Calcutta: A Portrait of India’s Colonial Capital, published in 2012 by Oxford University Press; Images of a Journey: India in Diaspora, published in 2007 by Indiana University Press; Living Faith: Inside the Muslim World of Southeast Asia, published in 2001, and St. Petersburg, a 1994 illustrated book about the imperial Russian capital. He also is photographer of The Vietnamese Cookbook, published in 2000 and Land of the Ascending Dragon: Rediscovering Vietnam, published in 1997.
Raymer is currently completing a book titled The Public House: An Enduring British Institution. The volume documents a centuries-old tradition that is threatened by new villains such as social media, high beer taxes, a smoking ban, and rapacious corporate owners.
The National Press Photographers Association and the University of Missouri named Raymer “Magazine Photographer of the Year”— one of photojournalism’s most coveted awards — for his reporting of the global hunger crisis in 1976. He has received a citation for excellence in foreign reporting from the Overseas Press Club of America and is the winner of numerous first-place awards from NPPA and the White House News Photographers’ Association.
Under the auspices of the State Department, the Asia Society, and the Overseas Press Club, Raymer has lectured on photojournalism, the global news media, war correspondence, and media ethics in the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Poland, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. He also has appeared on the “Today Show, ” the BBC radio and television, the Voice of America, and as a panelist and lecturer on war correspondence at The Freedom Forum’s Newseum in Washington, D.C. Raymer also has been a DART Fellow in Reporting Trauma and Conflict at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.