We just learned that adventure photographer Bobby Model, 34, was critical injured while on vacation in Cape Town. South Africa. Model was riding in a pickup driven by his sister Faith when a large chunk of concrete smashed through the windshield.
The pair were driving near the Monwabisi resort, near one of Cape Town’s poor townships, when the incident occurred. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the concrete was thrown or accidentally fell from a truck. At last report, Model’s family said his condition was deteriorating.
Model is not yet well known in the U.S., but within exploration circles he is a rising star. In 1996 he was part of a team that completed the first free ascent of the 20,600-foot Trango Tower in Pakistan. Model’s account of the climb for National Geographic included a picture of expedition leader Bill Hatcher dangling from a rope—a photo Model shot with a point-and-shoot camera. Later, the National Geographic Society named Model to its prestigious “emerging explorer” group.
Model, who grew up in Wyoming and relocated to Nairobi, Kenya in 2004, has also photographed the fierce civil war in Sudan and border disputes in Kashmir.
He is not, in other words, risk averse. But in photography, as in life, there is calculated risk, and there is terrifying random risk.