Mankind-Documentary by the History Channel-Photographed by Joe Alblas


Joe Alblas spent just under three months photographing MankindThe Story of All Of Us, the landmark History Channel documentary series which premiered, Tuesday, 13 November 2012.

In the process, Joe photographed the ice age, the battle of Megiddo, the sacking of Rome, the demise of Easter Island, Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America, the Salem witch hunts, and other key historical moments.

Mankind: The Story of All of Us is an epic 12-hour television event about the greatest adventure of all time – the history of the human race.

You can watch a preview below:


Nutopia produced the series as a follow on from their success with 2010’s Emmy-winning America: The Story of Us, the most-watched special ever on The History Channel.

For Mankind: The Story of All of Us, Joe traveled first to Morocco, then on to China and finally back to South Africa – the only crew member to work in all three countries.

“If you could ignore the construction sites and all the production vehicles, being on the set of Mankind was like time travel,” says Joe. “The period costumes, the make up and the set design really do transport you to another world.”

Joe only shoots on Nikon. On Mankind: The Story of All Of Us, he shot everything on the Nikon D3S, relying mostly on his f1.4 prime lenses.  “They give you a very shallow depth of field, which already feels very cinematic before any grading. The blurred backgrounds also help keep the sets believable,” says Joe. He’s since upgraded to the new Nikon D4.


As always, Joe worked closely with each block’s director and directors of photography. “They were fantastic,” he says. “They were always open to collaboration and understood the importance of what stills are all about. They were very accommodating in allowing me to hook up my remotes on their cranes and dollies.”


Joe’s images will be used in a companion book, authored by Pamela D. Toler, Ph.D. It’s available from Amazon at

Joe first worked with Nutopia on America: The Story Of Us, which was similarly partly shot in South Africa with Film Afrika. His photographs from America: The Story Of Us were also used in an illustrated history companion, available from Amazon at

For more information on Mankind: The Story of All Of Us, visit

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