William Albert's Open Road


Staff Photographer
National Geographic

“It makes me realize that it's possibleā€¦to set out with a goal and it's possible to reach that goal.”




Education Goals Passion Chance


Amish, Amish community, art school, being indifferent, grades, high school, internship, photojournalism, proving yourself, visuals, writing


Having spent a lifetime snapping world-renowned portraits for National Geographic, William Albert Allard's white hair and twinkling eyes only hint at his wealth of experience. His manner is at once professorial and avuncular as he speaks of his trans-global journey and the secret of his success. It's hard to imagine that upon high school graduation, he eked out a modest living working for the phone company. After his sister admonished him that there was "more to life than climbing poles" and encouraged him to get an education, he registered at the local art school. It wasn't long before an enthusiastic, young professor inspired him to try photojournalism. Despite the fact that he had a young family to support, William undertook the risky endeavor of building a new career from scratch armed with little more than the desire to "put words and pictures together." William took his portfolio and headed east looking for work, eventually landing an internship with National Geographic. He is recognized for changing National Geographic's mission with his first job. He credits his success to a deep affinity for his work and sheer determination.

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