Craig Aurness, known for his work in National Geographic, died Dec. 14, 2004, in Panorama City, Calif. Aurness had been undergoing treatment for lung and anemia complications. He was 58.
The adopted son of James Arness, Aurness grew up on a ranch in Southern California. In the 1970s, he apprenticed with Look magazine photographer Earl Tyson. His first assignment for National Geographic was published in 1978, and he spent the next 10 years traveling around the world, producing seven more National Geographic stories and various books. His work for the magazine received awards for Best Photograph and Best Photo of the Year in the Magazine Pictorial Division from the National Press Photographers Association.
With photographer Charles O’Rear, Aurness founded Westlight stock photo agency, one of the first to focus on the international market. Westlight was sold to Corbis in 1998.
A few years ago, the Aurness family fulfilled a dream to move to the country and raise livestock. They formed Aurness Alpacas, specializing in the buying and selling of suri alpacas.
Aurness is survived by his wife, Daphne, his two children, Holly and Brian, and his sister, Holly Morton.