National Geographic’s Brilliant Front Cover Is Going Viral

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national geographic cover photoNational Geographic/Steve McCurry

National Geographic is well known for its stunning images, consistently shining new light on far flung places and giving everyone serious wanderlust.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ll already be familiar with some of their work.

They pretty much set the benchmark of viral content when the internet was but a baby, and now they’re setting social media alight with a captivating image that effects all of our futures.

National Geographic plastic iceberg

And they’ve posted this photo that is somehow cute yet ultimately worrying at the same time on Instagram:

That’s what National Geographic have always been good at, telling a whole story in a single, striking image which stays with you long after you’ve turned the page.

Their latest cover, for the June 2018 edition, is no different. In fact, it’s probably one of their best.

As part of the magazine’s ‘Planet or Plastic?’ initiative, the new image is a stark reminder of the danger’s we’re facing due to plastic pollution.

Vaughn Wallace, senior photo editor at National Geographic, shared the image on Twitter:

Created by Mexican artist Jorge Gamboa, the hyper-realistic photo-illustration suggests plastic waste in the ocean is just a small part of the problem.

The accompanying caption reads:

18 billion pounds of plastic end up in the ocean each year. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

While the message may be a little on-the-nose, it’s an undeniably effective reminder of what the planet is going through at the moment, and what needs to be done to tackle the issue.

People were quick to respond to the image, too, as one person wrote:

OK. Jorge Gamboa deserves an award for this.

Another added:

This one stopped me in my tracks. It’s brilliant.

While another follower showed how great images can capture anyone’s imagination:

As soon as my toddler saw this issue arrive in the mail, she picked it up, brought it to me and sat in my lap, asking me to read as if it were a bedtime story… Very powerful work.

Wallace also said how the magazine has made some changes to do their part in addressing plastic waste:

He added:

Starting with this June issue, we’ve gotten rid of the plastic wrapper [around the magazine] and replaced it with paper.

As Mashable reports, photographer Jorge Gamboa had originally submitted the artwork, entitled Iceberg Plástico to Bolivia’s Biennial of Poster 2017, where it won first place in the political and social posters category.

The image is now set to become a lot more well known as the millions of National Geographic followers worldwide will see it.

Some are already calling it iconic:

Even Zooey Deschanel is getting in on the action:

If you don’t already follow National Geographic on Instagram, I would highly recommend giving them a follow. Their photos are consistently beautiful and eye-opening, and are sure to offer something different on your usual feed.

Let’s hope as many people as possible see the image and are encouraged to do their bit to help clean up the planet.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.