National Geographic Masters of Photography

Taught By Multiple Professors
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Course for Developing a Photographic Mind This course with 12 different photographers for the National Geographic Magazine demonstrates the creativity and subjectivity of each photographer and how each approaches their craft. This course has some discussion of how to photography but is mostly about thinking about your photography before you take your first photo. Interesting to see the uniqueness of each--thereby giving me permission to develop my own approach to photography
Date published: 2021-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a joy this course was What a joy this course was. I watched it with my wife whose photographic attempts do not go past her phone camera. We both enjoyed it immensely. First there are all the great pictures that they share. Then to learn the story about how they came to be was absolutely fascinating. Watching how great masters create what they create in any arena is a pleasure, it was doubly so as photography is one of my hobbies. Lots of instruction here, but most importantly they are coaching you on how to see the photograph that is right there in front of you.
Date published: 2021-03-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Lacking great National Geographic Photographs I purchased the Grandeur and History of Our National Parks. These courses having been developed by National Geographic, my assumption that was that they would contain great photographs and what "wonders" we would see when visiting them. The course emphasis is on basic geology with very little on what visitors to the parks would see. The photographs are few and not of the highly reputed photographers. My wife who is not scientific oriented, falls asleep every time we look at the videos. There was a push to purchase the book associated with these courses (when calling in to order). The synopsis book is nicely done. Unless you need to understand the origin and geology of our national parks, don't purchase this course.
Date published: 2021-02-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Just slideshows. Barely any teaching I’ve never once written a review online, but this “class” is terrible. Only one person actually approaches what they’re doing as teaching skills. Everyone else is just showing pictures and talking about the places and people that are in them. I learned more about bomb fishing than I did about photography. If I paid full price for this I’d be so upset. Don’t buy this.
Date published: 2021-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well worth watching Good to hear and see a variety of views and perspectives.
Date published: 2020-10-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Masters of Photography I cannot get these CD/DVDs to play on my computer.... so I cannot accurately tell you if I like them or not. Help would be appreciated.
Date published: 2020-08-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from More than expected Have only had the chance to read the manual and do a quick look at the dvd. It has more info than I will ever use. Not for me. Was hoping that it showed me how to operate the features on a complicated camera.
Date published: 2020-08-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not what I was expecting actually. As I got into to it, was more of the theory on National Geographic Master. For a person that had previous desires to be National Geographic Photographer I could see where it might be of great use. I'm with PSA and compete world wide in photography and almost classified as a MPSA (Master Photographer)
Date published: 2020-08-04
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National Geographic Masters of Photography
Course Trailer
Redefine Adventure (Adventure)
1: Redefine Adventure (Adventure)

Follow how Cory Richards's approach to adventure photography has evolved beyond capturing the pure danger of climbing into something larger. Discover ways to reveal the human element in and culture of a locale by using to your advantage techniques including silhouette, leading lines, the vastness of a landscape, and anticipation.

41 min
Broaden Your View (Adventure)
2: Broaden Your View (Adventure)

Continue your exploration of adventure photography by looking deeper at ways to create dynamic results. Look closely at compelling shots from Mr. Richards's portfolio as he illuminates techniques for drawing viewers closer, creating a studio-lit effect in the field, finding the unexpected, focusing on details, and taking a picture of "people" -without the people....

34 min
Show What No One Has Shown (Adventure)
3: Show What No One Has Shown (Adventure)

Head underground with Stephen Alvarez, a photographer who specializes in subterranean spaces and extreme terrain. Travel to breathtaking locales via his portfolio, including Oman on the Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar, the catacomb passages of Paris, and the Myo Lake Room in Papua New Guinea-a place no human had previously been-as he shares tips for lighting and finding adventures close to home....

33 min
Set the Scene, Get Close (Adventure)
4: Set the Scene, Get Close (Adventure)

Conclude your lesson on adventure photography by applying the skills you've acquired to the broader world. See what works and what doesn't as you explore how to craft a great "scene setter," zoom in or out for maximum impact, and shoot images of the night sky. Also, learn the importance of good lighting and doing your research....

30 min
Understand the Animal (Wildlife)
5: Understand the Animal (Wildlife)

Jaguars. Snow leopards. Rhinoceroses. How do wildlife photographers such as Steve Winter capture once-in-a-lifetime, emotion-filled images of such elusive-and dangerous-animals? Find out as he takes you through the essential tools and techniques he relies on, from shutter speeds designed for sports photography to understanding and anticipating an animal's behavior....

32 min
Use All the Tools (Wildlife)
6: Use All the Tools (Wildlife)

Photographing a bird in the jungle is no different than photographing a bird in your own back yard. Learn how you can use the skills wildlife photographers employ in the field at home to make the ordinary extraordinary, including panning, using eye contact, and incorporating the environment into your portraits....

32 min
Make a Difference (Wildlife)
7: Make a Difference (Wildlife)

Good light. Good composition. A moment. Explore the key ingredients of a great photograph with Joel Sartore as you continue investigating what makes an ordinary picture extraordinary. Get pointers on using storyboarding, remotes, and additional tools in wildlife photography, then see how his images have "gone to work" on behalf of endangered species and other animals....

33 min
Go Back, Get It Right (Wildlife)
8: Go Back, Get It Right (Wildlife)

These days, good equipment isn't hard to come by and many people are able to take tight, standard shots of wildlife in focus. So, how can you do something original in a world awash in pictures? Find out as Mr. Sartore delves deeper into the art of building photo essays and the mechanics of making exquisite images. Gather tips on lenses, where to photograph animals, and more....

34 min
The Joys of Nature (Landscape)
9: The Joys of Nature (Landscape)

According to Jim Richardson, "When we tell the story of the Earth, we are telling the story of ourselves and our relationship to the Earth." Here, the veteran photographer takes you from the Hebrides of Scotland to his native Kansas as he illuminates how he approaches telling tales in a graphic way....

32 min
Exploring Landscapes (Landscape)
10: Exploring Landscapes (Landscape)

Return to Boreray, the Callanish Stones, the Isle of Muck, and other locations Mr. Richardson took you to in the previous lesson, so you can go behind the scenes to learn the "messy" process of how his remarkable landscapes were made. Also, get advice for preventing a "sedentary" feel in your work....

31 min
Guide the Eye (Landscape)
11: Guide the Eye (Landscape)

As Michael Yamashita walks you through his body of work-which includes everything from a Zen garden to New Jersey traffic-pick up tips for shooting simple but effective landscapes. Go inside his story on China's Jiuzhaigou national park to understand how he approaches landscape projects and creates an air of mystery....

29 min
Moment in Landscape (Landscape)
12: Moment in Landscape (Landscape)

Continue to investigate what makes a great landscape photo by looking at the three key elements of any great photo-light, composition, and a moment-and how these ingredients factor into this genre specifically. See how Mr. Yamashita uses negative space, sense of scale, leading lines, S-curves, and the rule of thirds....

33 min
Gaining Trust (People)
13: Gaining Trust (People)

As you trace the diverse career of Jodi Cobb-who has photographed everyone from famous musicians to the highly shrouded women of Saudi Arabia and geisha of Japan-discover how rewarding it can be to photograph people, particularly when you get behind the public persona. Conclude with a heart-wrenching photo essay on human trafficking....

29 min
Uncover the Human Condition (People)
14: Uncover the Human Condition (People)

How do you approach people and get their permission to be photographed? How can you ensure you're telling a story in every image? What's the difference between a photographer and a tourist? Get answers as Ms. Cobb guides you in a close examination of individual photographs that explore the human condition....

31 min
Build Relationships (People)
15: Build Relationships (People)

Find out how Ira Block learned to incorporate people and interact with subjects even when conditions-be they language or weather-were against him. Discover how to make visual connections that advance a story; take advantage of intriguing backgrounds, lighting, and atmospherics; and capture people in authentic moments....

29 min
Use the Background (People)
16: Use the Background (People)

To capture a moment, you have to be ready. Mr. Block shares how he stays prepared as he walks you through various ways to approach people and produce pictures with impact, including going for less obvious shots and photographing from different angles. Learn how to find the "right" image once you return home....

31 min
Good, Bad, and Magic Light (Color & Light)
17: Good, Bad, and Magic Light (Color & Light)

Join Michael Melford, a landscape photographer and expert in natural light, for a discussion on lighting fundamentals. Take a deep dive into the four kinds of light he specifically looks for-diffuse light, side light, back light, and "magic" light-in addition to the types of filters he uses to control the available light....

37 min
Wait and Work the Shot (Color & Light)
18: Wait and Work the Shot (Color & Light)

What is it like to go on assignment for National Geographic? Find out as Mr. Melford takes you through his process during shoots in Death Valley, Glacier National Park, New Mexico, and other locations he's been assigned. Learn to anticipate the right shot-and be prepared to wait for it....

28 min
Compose with Color (Color & Light)
19: Compose with Color (Color & Light)

What is there to know about color? Plenty, as you'll discover in this enlightening discussion with Annie Griffiths. Watch as she demonstrates how to use the different "personalities" of colors-including black and white-to communicate emotions. Get practical tips on shooting at different times of day, using backgrounds, creating silhouettes, and more....

31 min
Write with Light (Color & Light)
20: Write with Light (Color & Light)

Light is the most elemental part of any photograph, yet it's easy to neglect. Study how light leads the eye through an image and unifies a composition, then learn how Ms. Griffiths uses light to add drama and interest to portraits, nature shots, and special event photos. Also, find out why you should limit the use of flash....

35 min
50 Years of Telling Stories (Storytelling)
21: 50 Years of Telling Stories (Storytelling)

How do photographers put pictures together to tell a story? What needs to be included for a photo essay to be successful? William Albert Allard answers these questions in detail using examples from his 40-plus photographic essays for National Geographic, including his groundbreaking first assignment on the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania....

29 min
Moment, Gesture, Place (Storytelling)
22: Moment, Gesture, Place (Storytelling)

Follow how Cory Richards's approach to adventure photography has evolved beyond capturing the pure danger of climbing into something larger. Discover ways to reveal the human element in and culture of a locale by using to your advantage techniques including silhouette, leading lines, the vastness of a landscape, and anticipation.

33 min
Engaging the World (Storytelling)
23: Engaging the World (Storytelling)

Ed Kashi, who has photographed in difficult locations from Syria to Nigeria, expands your education on storytelling by sharing how he captures political issues, cultures, landscapes, a sense of place, the daily life of the people, and, ultimately, a cohesive feeling or mood in his work....

32 min
Raising Awareness (Storytelling)
24: Raising Awareness (Storytelling)

The digital revolution has radically altered both the media and journalism, and here, you'll see the impact mobile photography has had on Mr. Kashi's work. But first, examine advocacy journalism, another development in visual storytelling, through projects on sustainable development in Madagascar and on the devastating effects of kidney disease among sugar cane workers in Nicaragua....

31 min

Professor Bio | 1 of 12

Joel Sartore

The reach of this course amazed me. People from all over the world have written to tell me their pictures are much better because of the lecture series. That's so very satisfying.


National Geographic Photographer

About Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore is a professional photographer and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. His assignments have taken him to some of the world's most beautiful and challenging environments and have brought him face to face with a diversity of wildlife in all 50 U. S. states and all seven continents. He was recently named a National Geographic Fellow for his work on The Photo Ark, a multiyear project to document the world's biodiversity in studio portraits (see and His photograph of a lion in a tree was voted the best picture by National Geographic magazine in 2011, and also won him a 2012 Veolia Environment award for wildlife photography. In addition to his work for National Geographic, Mr. Sartore has contributed to some of the most prestigious and widely read publications, including Audubon Magazine, Time, Life, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. Mr. Sartore and his work have been the subject of national broadcasts such as National Geographic Explorer, NBC Nightly News, NPR's Weekend Edition, and an hour-long PBS documentary, At Close Range. He is also a regular contributor to CBS's Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. A noted author and public lecturer on photography to audiences around the world, Mr. Sartore has written several books that highlight his craft and his work. Among these are RARE: Portraits of America's Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family, and Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky.

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Professor Bio | 2 of 12

Stephen Alvarez

What we want to do as photographers (is) surprise people and bring them the world they don't expect.


National Geographic Photographer

About Stephen Alvarez

Photographer and filmmaker Stephen Alvarez produces global stories about exploration, adventure, and culture. He has been a National Geographic magazine photographer since 1995 and has published more than a dozen stories with the magazine. Mr. Alvarez has won awards from Pictures of the Year International and Communication Arts. His story on the Maya and their religious rituals was exhibited at Visa pour L'Image, a renowned international photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France. Mr. Alvarez also has produced stories with NPR, including a story on underground Paris that won a 2012 White House News Photographers Association award. He has appeared on NPR, PBS, and CBS News Sunday Morning and at the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Shakerag Workshops, National Geographic Live, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, and the Banff Centre. Mr. Alvarez is a founding member of, and social media strategist for, The Photo Society, a group of contributing photographers for National Geographic magazine. His work is on the web at

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Professor Bio | 3 of 12

Ira Block

Sometimes, you may get lucky, but for the most part, you need to make your own luck-be aware of your surroundings and be on the lookout for something interesting to happen.


National Geographic Photographer

About Ira Block

Ira Block is an internationally acclaimed photojournalist, filmmaker, teacher, and workshop leader who has produced more than 30 stories for National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, and National Geographic Adventure magazines. He began his career as a newspaper photographer, earning numerous press club awards. His momentous coffee-table book, Saving America's Treasures, was a collaborative effort among the Clinton White House, the National Geographic Society, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Mr. Block's photographic exhibit Faces of Hope, portraits of survivors and images of objects retrieved from the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy, is part of the permanent collection of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. As an expert in lighting, Mr. Block is sought after for assignments ranging from shooting ancient artifacts in Greece to photographing dinosaur fossils in the Gobi Desert and documenting Moche mummies in Peru. View more of Mr. Block's work at

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Professor Bio | 4 of 12

Jodi Cobb

Always keep in mind that photography is communication: You are telling a story in every image


National Geographic Photographer

About Jodi Cobb

Jodi Cobb's groundbreaking career spans more than three decades as a staff photographer with National Geographic, one of only four women to have held that position in the magazine's history. She has worked in more than 65 countries, documenting closed societies and disappearing cultural traditions. Ms. Cobb is perhaps best known as the first photographer to document the secret lives and rituals of the geisha, revealed in her book Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art. The book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won the American Society of Media Photographers Outstanding Achievement Award. In another first, Ms. Cobb provided an unflinching look at the brutal reality of human trafficking in the National Geographic story "21st-Century Slaves." Featured as one of National Geographic's Women of Vision in a new book and exhibition, Ms. Cobb has repeatedly received National Press Photographers Association Pictures of the Year and World Press awards. In 2012, she was awarded one of journalism's most prestigious honors, the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. Learn more about Ms. Cobb at

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Professor Bio | 5 of 12

Michael Melford

My gear is very simple, my cameras are simple, my light is simple. I'm here to teach you so that you, too, can make wonderful photographs.


National Geographic Photographer

About Michael Melford

Michael Melford is an internationally recognized photographer who has worked with National Geographic for more than 30 years. He has produced 19 feature stories for National Geographic magazine and more than 30 stories for National Geographic Traveler. His work also has been featured on the covers of Newsweek, TIME, LIFE, Fortune, Smithsonian, GEO, Travel + Leisure, Travel Holiday, and Coastal Living. Mr. Melford has won recognition from World Press Photo, the International Center of Photography, the Art Director's Club, and numerous other arts organizations and publications. He also has produced photography for eight National Geographic books, including National Geographic Treasures of Alaska: The Last Great American Wilderness and Hidden Alaska: Bristol Bay and Beyond. Mr. Melford teaches photography primarily through National Geographic; he leads one-day seminars around the country through National Geographic Traveler's photo seminar series and travels with National Geographic Expeditions aboard the small ship fleet and on other trips around the world. Learn more about his work at

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Professor Bio | 6 of 12

Michael Yamashita

Photographers hope to... prompt viewers to exercise their imaginations in looking at an image and gain a different perspective on the world.


National Geographic Photographer

About Michael Yamashita

Michael Yamashita is a 30-year award-winning veteran of National Geographic and has photographed a vast range of topics and locations, most notably in Asia. He has traipsed with camels across the Taklimakan Desert, scaled peaks in Tibet, and journeyed the length of the Great Wall. He has published more than 30 National Geographic magazine features, as well as 10 books. He also has two documentary films to his credit, Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed and Treasure Fleet: The Adventures of Zheng He. His most recent book, Shangri-La: Along the Tea Road to Lhasa, took him to the far reaches of western China and the Himalayas to capture the fast-disappearing ancient culture of Tibet. Mr. Yamashita has taught at major photo workshops and art centers, including the Maine Media Workshops, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, Tuscany Photo Workshop, and Palm Beach Photographic Centre. He also has conducted hands-on workshops in such far-flung locales as Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, and China. His work is online at

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Professor Bio | 7 of 12

William Albert Allard

if the connection is strong enough, viewers may feel as if they have come to know something about the person in the photograph-perhaps even what that person might be like to know as a friend.


University of Minnesota


National Geographic Photographer

About William Albert Allard

A major force at National Geographic and in mainstream photography for 50 years, William Albert Allard has contributed to the Society's magazine stories and books as a photographer and writer since 1964. He studied at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts (now the Minneapolis College of Art and Design) and the University of Minnesota. Mr. Allard is the author of six highly acclaimed books, including the award-winning Vanishing Breed: Photographs of the Cowboy and the West. His latest book, William Albert Allard: Five Decades, a retrospective and memoir, explores his long career in both words and pictures. Among his worldwide exhibitions, his one-man show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in 2002 was the first exhibit of work by an American artist in Iran since 1979. Considered one of color photography's most celebrated pioneers, Mr. Allard is a former contributor to Magnum Photos, and his prints appear in private and museum collections. Learn more about his work online at

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Professor Bio | 8 of 12

Annie Griffiths

The word photograph actually means "writing with light," and we can all learn to write better by exploring and understanding light.


National Geographic Photographer

About Annie Griffiths

Annie Griffiths has photographed in nearly 150 countries during her illustrious career and worked on dozens of magazine and book projects for National Geographic. Her books include A Camera, Two Kids, and a Camel: My Journey in Photographs, a memoir about balance and the joy of creating a meaningful life, and National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs, which was named the top photo/art book of 2011 by both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In addition to her magazine work, Ms. Griffiths is the Executive Director of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of photographers who document programs that empower women and girls in the developing world, especially as they deal with the devastating effects of climate change. Known for her warmth and humor as a lecturer, Ms. Griffiths has the innate ability to share stories from her photographs that bring to life both the people and the cultures she documents. Learn more about her work at

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Professor Bio | 9 of 12

Ed Kashi

Caring, passion, and curiosity are the key elements to great storytelling. You must be genuinely interested in the stories and images you are pursuing; otherwise, you will not have the commitment needed to stay focused and engaged in your work.


National Geographic Photographer

About Ed Kashi

Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, a filmmaker, and an educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. Since 2000, he has pioneered the movement to multimedia and filmmaking in photojournalism, producing an innovative flip-book entitled Iraqi Kurdistan and award-winning short films and multimedia projects on geopolitics and social issues. Mr. Kashi has won numerous awards from World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year International, as well as the UNICEF Photo of the Year for 2010, a Prix Pictet commission in 2010, and honors from Communication Arts and American Photo. He has published seven books, including Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta and THREE. His latest book, Photojournalisms, is a compilation of journal writings to his wife, done over a nearly 20-year period from various locations around the world. View more of Mr. Kashi's work at

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Professor Bio | 10 of 12

Cory Richards

All adventure is created through the people who engage in it


National Geographic Photographer

About Cory Richards

A climber and visual storyteller, Cory Richards was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2012, the same year the American Alpine Club presented him with its Rowell Award. At the 2014 National Geographic Explorers Symposium, Mr. Richards was named to the inaugural group of National Geographic Photography Fellows, whose work combines visual storytelling and exploration. Mr. Richards's camera has taken him from the runway to the wild and remote corners of the world, from Antarctica's unclimbed peaks to the Himalayas of Nepal and Pakistan, in an attempt to capture not only the soul of exploration but also the beauty of modern society. He is a passionate mountain climber on The North Face athletic team and has carved a niche as one of the world's leading adventure and expedition photographers. His photography has appeared in National Geographic magazine, Outside, and The New York Times. His film work has won awards at nearly every major adventure film festival, including grand prize at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival for Cold. View more of Mr. Richards's work at

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Professor Bio | 11 of 12

Jim Richardson

Landscapes speak to me because for as long as we've been roaming the earth, we've been trying to read the land.


National Geographic Photographer

About Jim Richardson

Jim Richardson has been a photographer for National Geographic for more than 30 years, specializing in global environmental issues and landscapes. He also is interested in the Celtic world, with special attention to Scotland and its remote islands. His documentary photography has focused on the American Great Plains and includes extended coverage of small-town life in his native Kansas. He has a 30-year photographic relationship with the people of Cuba, Kansas (population 220). This unusual body of work has been excerpted in National Geographic, LIFE, and many other publications worldwide. Among his books is The Colorado: A River at Risk, which has been recognized widely for its contribution to awareness of water issues in the American West. In addition to photographing for National Geographic magazine, Mr. Richardson represents National Geographic in keynote presentations, media appearances, cultural enrichment lectures for travel groups, and workshops. To view his portfolio, visit'

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Professor Bio | 12 of 12

Steve Winter

Some of these animals are very secretive, and part of our job as photographers is to figure out how to photograph them.


National Geographic Photographer

About Steve Winter

Steve Winter has been a photojournalist with National Geographic for more than 20 years, specializing in wildlife, particularly big cats. He is also an adventurer who has been attacked by rhinos, stalked by jaguars, and charged by an 11-foot grizzly bear. Mr. Winter was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2008 and Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year in 2012 in a competition cosponsored by the Natural History Museum in London and BBC Worldwide. He won the Pictures of the Year International Global Vision Award in 2010 and 2011 and received first prize in the nature category from World Press Photo in 2008 and 2014. Mr. Winter is the coauthor of Tigers Forever: Saving the World's Most Endangered Big Cat. He lectures globally on photography and conservation issues and has been featured on NPR, as well as the CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, and other programs. Mr. Winter teaches workshops with Wildlife Photo Masterclass, a cooperative formed by National Geographic photographers. He is on the web at'

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