Melissa Farlow is a freelance photographer who has contributed to National Geographic for more than 15 years. Previously she was a staff photographer at the Pittsburgh Press and at the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times in Kentucky. While in Louisville, she was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of desegregation in the public schools.
Farlow has photographed numerous articles for National Geographic, including “Blackwater Country,” “Swamps of Jersey: The Meadowlands,” “High Stakes in the Bluegrass,” “When Mountains Move,” and “The Truth About Tongass.”
Farlow worked in three African countries for Women in the Material World, a book comparing women’s roles in different cultures. She photographed in Chile, Peru, and Mexico for a book on the Pan-American Highway and also published a National Geographic book titled Wild Lands of the West.
Her images have won multiple awards in the Pictures of the Year competition and other contests.
She received her B.A. degree in journalism from Indiana University and her master’s degree from the University of Missouri, where she also taught photojournalism. She has been a faculty member at the Missouri Photo Workshop, the Center for Photographic Studies in Louisville, and the Anderson Ranch of Fine Arts in Aspen, Colorado.
Farlow is married to Randy Olson, also a longtime National Geographic contributing photographer.
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