Vincent J. Musi
The Year of the Dogs Creator. Chief Wrangler. Dr. Dolittle.
Vincent J. Musi has been a regular contributor to National Geographic since 1993, covering a vast range of subjects from the Texas Hill Country to the legendary Route 66, the ancient crypts of Sicily, life at the base of volcanoes, and mummies.
A specialist in animal portraits, his recent work includes projects on domestication, intelligence and cognition.
When Vince’s work shifted from documenting the world to photographing animals, he knew he was in over his head and feared it would end his career. He's still unsure, as he works with subjects who routinely growl, bark, roar, bite, hiss, claw, poop, or pee…on him.
For 20 years, Vince has been the host of the National Geographic Storytellers Summit, bringing together inspirational and influential photographers, writers, filmmakers, illustrators, and journalists, once a year, to celebrate the art of storytelling to inspire change. Vince has contributed to TIME, Newsweek, Life, Fortune and The New York Times Magazine.
When the world got smaller during COVID, he and his wife Callie Shell created the Unleashed Studio, where he taps into his inner Dr. Dolittle to capture unique dog portraits. As a way to amuse himself (and us), Vince imagines the inner lives of his subjects and shares often side-splitting and sometimes poignant life stories from their perspective. The weekly Instagram series, which grew into a book—initially planned to last one year—is called The Year of the Dogs. The project and posts went viral and the world won’t let him end it.
Vincent believes that everything we learn about animals teaches us everything we don't know about ourselves.
Where the Wild Things Are
In this entertaining and enlightening talk, Vince shared highlights from more than 30 years, traveling the world for National Geographic, documenting a changing planet. He shares stories from close to home, along the iconic Route 66, to what it’s like to live at the base of a volcano, to ancient Sicilian mummies. One story that captured his heart took readers “Inside Animal Minds” (NGM cover story, March 2008) and included a deep study of birds, apes, dolphins, and dogs, revealing a wide range of emotions and communication skills. With his trademark dry humor, Vince takes us into the world of animal cognition and on a tour of some of the world’s most unusual pets, including a hilarious romp through The Year of the Dogs. You may never look at man’s best friend the same way again!
Photos: Vincent J Musi
Seen & Heard