studied photography under Prof. Steinert at what is now the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. He is co-founder of the photo agency VISUM and has worked for magazines such as Stern, Life, National Geographic Magazine, Spiegel, Geo and Time.
The focus of his work lies on ecological issues and the socio-economic changes in the former republics of the Soviet Union. This work resulted in the book and exhibition “Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR”.
In 1993 Gerd Ludwig photographed Chernobyl for the first time on assignment from National Geographic Magazine. In 2005 he returned for a number of weeks to the exclusion zone and to the areas of Ukraine and Belarus affected by fallout. At this period the political thaw in Ukraine was leading to more freedom of movement and he was allowed to advance further into the irradiated reactor than any other Western photographer had done before, and Gerd Ludwig photographed in the reactor and in its surroundings once again in spring 2011.
In May 2014, as the outcome of many travels to Ukraine and Belarus, his trilingual photobook “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl” (with an essay by Mikhail Gorbachev) was published by Lammerhuber, Vienna.
Today, Gerd Ludwig, who has lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, photographs chiefly for National Geographic – but also for other renowned magazines and book projects. He lectures at universities and teaches at workshops worldwide, and his photos are exhibited internationally in galleries and museums. Alongside many international distinctions he received the renowned Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year in 2006. He has been a member of INSTITUTE for Artist Management since 2009. On 20 September Gerd Ludwig will be distinguished with the Dr. Erich Salomon Award 2014 by the German Photographic Society (DGPh).