Student Speaker Series Media: Vincent J. Musi

 

Vincent J. Musi could be considered the quintessential National Geographic photographer. From the legendary Route 66 to the ancient crypts of Sicily and life under volcanoes, his magazine stories have explored landscapes, archaeology, history, and culture for the last 27 years. When his work shifted to photographing animals, he knew he was in over his head and feared it would end his career.

He's still unsure, as he works with subjects who routinely growl, bark, roar, bite, hiss, claw, poop, or pee...on him. For 20 years, he's been the host of the National Geographic Storytellers Summit, bringing together inspirational and influential photographers, writers, filmmakers, illustrators, and journalists to celebrate the art of storytelling to inspire change. His latest book, The Year of the Dogs, is based on his weekly Instagram posts featuring hilarious stories about dogs and his life photographing them. Vincent believes that everything we learn about animals teaches us everything we don't know about ourselves.

In his talk, Vincent shares highlights from more than 30 years, traveling the world for National Geographic. One story that captured his heart took readers “Inside Animal Minds” (NGM cover story, March 2008) and included a deep study of birds, apes, dolphins, and dogs, revealing a wide range of emotions and communication skills. Vincent takes us into the world of animal cognition and on a tour of some of the world’s most unusual pets, including a hilarious romp through his The Year of the Dogs project. You may never look at man’s best friend the same way again!

Visit Vincent’s website to learn more about him and see some of his amazing photographs.

Learn even more about Vincent at Changemaker Talent.

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Background Information

These links have been compiled as a companion to the Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series Educator Resources here. Click here to download the full educator resources packet.

Articles and Books

Ratliff, Evan. “Taming the Wild.” National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Society, Mar. 2011, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/animal-domestication. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Laurent, Olivier. “Vincent Musi: The Art of Photographing Animals.” Time, 9 Jun. 2015, https://time.com/3912867/vincent-musi-the-art-of-photographing-animals/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Musi, Vincent. “Why it Took Me Eight Years to Photograph My Own Backyard.” National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Society, 21 Oct. 2014, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/article/have-you-started-shooting-yet-a-longterm-project-is-finally-complete. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Morell, Virginia. “Minds of their Own.” National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Society, Mar. 2008, https://archive.nationalgeographic.com/national-geographic/2008-mar/flipbook/36/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Greshko, Michael. “For World Animal Day, 10 Sharp Pictures of Brainy Animals.” National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Society, 4 Oct. 2016, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/world-animal-day-pictures-brainy-creatures-intelligence. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Slater, Lauren. “Wild Obsession.” National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Society, Apr. 2014, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/exotic-pets. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Musi, Vincent. “Skunk Lovers Unite: A Look at Pets and Their People.” National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Society, 25 Mar. 2014, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/article/skunk-lovers-unite-a-look-at-pets-and-their-people. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Musi, Vincent J. “The Year of the Dogs.” San Francisco, Chronicle Books, in association with Blackwell & Ruth, 2019, https://bookshop.org/p/books/the-year-of-the-dogs-vincent-j-musi/7594845. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Film and Video

“Beauty and the beast -- learning to photograph animals | Vince Musi | TEDxCharleston.” YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 15 May 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d53hYTR-YSI&t=5s. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

“National Geographic Live! - Vincent J. Musi: Where the Wild Things Live | Nat Geo Live.” YouTube, uploaded by National Geographic, 21 Apr. 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIKyU7VskXg. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

“The Year of the Dog | Vince Musi | Trailer.” YouTube, uploaded by Charleston Music Hall, 14 Aug. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQRubW8p4Mk. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

Websites

“Dog Breeds.” American Kennel Club, 2017, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

“Animal Cognition.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Jan. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_cognition. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

“Genetics.” National Geographichttps://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/resource-library-genetics/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

“Evolution 101 - Understanding Evolution.” University of California Berkeley, 10 Jun. 2020, https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolution-101/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

“Home - Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants.” Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, 2023, https://www.exploringbytheseat.com. Accessed 25 Oct. 2023.

Global Biodiversity Festival Year 4, Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, 30 Aug. 2023, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwKFsJZmdxpFfbyVWQ0_gCyWoXhGAqY3a.

Global Biodiversity Festival Year 3, Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, 24 July. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwKFsJZmdxpGryUYol9hbrpGZZmBhbO3G.

Global Biodiversity Festival Year 2, Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, 20 July. 2023, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwKFsJZmdxpEhK9d-PHhHQqQgdM-2Xay0.

Global Biodiversity Festival Year 1, Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, 24 July. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwKFsJZmdxpGLflfxa9I5lXsmBoDeRMD0. 

“Daily Dive # 035 | Recording Octopus Brainwaves.” YouTube, uploaded by Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, 13 Sept. 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-4yaJmEqy4. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

“Rob Cooke | Long Distance Dog Musher.” YouTube, uploaded by Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, 30 Mar. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTMjjQYMxt8. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

“Jessicah Kurere | Working With Domestic Dogs and Cats to Conserve Lions in Northern Kenya.” YouTube, uploaded by Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, 25 May 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rieCjrGAIxY. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Activities

“How can we test animals’ intelligence? - Lesson Plan.” Science Journal for Kids and Teens, Apr. 2020, https://sciencejournalforkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/ravens_lesson.pdf. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

Moreno, Nancy. “Dogs - A Model for Modern Genetics.” BioEd Online, https://www.bioedonline.org/lessons-and-more/lessons-by-topic/genetics-and-inheritance/dogsa-model-for-modern-genetics/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

“A Recipe for Genetics: Selective Breeding and Bioengineering (Grades 6-8).” National Agriculture in the Classroom, https://agclassroom.org/matrix/lesson/729/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

“Dogs in Poetry.” American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/public-education/educator-resources/grades-6-8-lesson-plans/6-8-language-arts/dogs-in-poetry/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023. 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Interpreting Vincent's photos. Download a pdf of Vincent J. Musi's photographs to discuss using the questions found in the Vital Impacts Educator Resources for  Vincent J Musi.   

Read and Discuss

Elitsa. “How do ravens’ thinking skills compare with apes’?” Science Journal for Kids and Teens, Apr. 2021, https://www.sciencejournalforkids.org/articles/how-do-ravens-thinking-skills-compare-with-apes/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Elitsa. “When and where did humans domesticate wolves?” Science Journal for Kids and Teens, Sept. 2023, https://www.sciencejournalforkids.org/articles/when-and-where-did-humans-domesticate-wolves/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

 

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