Stephen Alvarez - Photographer

National Geographic Explorer and photographer Stephen Alvarez has spent his life documenting the world. An award-winning photographer and filmmaker, he produces global stories about exploration, culture, and archeology. Alvarez has published over a dozen feature stories in National Geographic Magazine, taking readers from the highest peaks in the Andes to the deepest cave in the world, to the tunnels of underground Paris to the islands of the Pacific Ocean. 

In addition to National Geographic, his work has been featured in Time Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, and the New York Times. He has appeared on NPR, PBS, and CBS Saturday Morning, was a Microsoft Brand Ambassador, and has awed audiences from the Banff Mountain Center to National Geographic Live! Alvarez has been a guest on a number of podcasts including To The Best of Our Knowledge. He has hosted travel for Lindblad Expeditions and NG Travel including the Shackleton Anniversary Expedition to Antarctica, and a world jet tour. 

His National Geographic story on the origins of art led him from early human sites on the southern coast of Africa to Paleolithic art caves in France and Spain. After experiencing the 36,000 year old cave art of Chauvet, he said, “Time collapsed and I felt the artist speaking straight to me across an unimaginable gulf of time.”

In 2016, Alvarez founded the Ancient Art Archive, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and sharing rock and cave art—humanity’s oldest stories.  His National Geographic story on North American rock art is produced in partnership with members of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Ute, Navajo and Shawnee tribes. The story appears in the  May 2024 edition of NGM.

Stephen lives with his family in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Stephen Alvarez hangs over Ora Waterfall