Born in Alsfeld, Germany, GERD LUDWIG studied photography with Professor Otto Steinert at the Folkwangschule (now: Folkwang University of the Arts) in Essen, Germany. Soon after, he began working for publications such as Geo, Stern, Spiegel, Time, and Life. Upon moving to New York in the 1980s, he started photographing for National Geographic Magazine. His focus on environmental issues and the socioeconomic changes following the dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in his exhibition and book, Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR, a ten-year retrospective published by National Geographic in 2001 in the USA, Germany and Korea. Ludwig’s ongoing coverage of post-Soviet Russia has garnered his distinction as the world’s foremost color photographer documenting the region.
The Long Shadow of Chernobyl (essay by Mikhail Gorbachev), his trilingual photo book based on 20 years documenting the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident, was released by Edition Lammerhuber in 2014 to international acclaim.
Gerd Ludwig’s work beautifully captures all the complexities life has to offer. Whether it is the sweetness of a hug and a kiss or the poignancy of children born with serious birth defects, his photography resonates with a full scale of emotion. Combining artful composition with socio-economic content and a journalistic style, Ludwig creates images that broaden the mind and touch the soul.
Now based in Los Angeles, Gerd Ludwig continues his work for National Geographic Magazine, photographs personal projects, lectures at universities, teaches photographic workshops internationally and exhibits his photographs in galleries and museums around the world. He is the recipient of the Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year in 2006, the 2014 German Society for Photography’s prestigious Dr. Erich-Salomon Award, and in 2015 he received the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism.