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Assignment

Undiscovered

This assignment ran from Aug 17 to Sep 7, 2015.

Sometimes, as we go about our daily routines, we can get caught up in the monotony. Everything starts to look the same. That’s why it’s so important to break out of your routine and pursue unique, out-of-the-ordinary experiences that break the mold of your everyday life.

You—and only you—define the path your life takes, which is why we’re dedicating this assignment to showcasing and discovering the undiscovered. Whether you take the back road on your way home from work to find a new coffee shop or hike for miles to find a waterfall you’ve never seen before, it’s important to discover new things in your backyard and beyond. Show us what you’ve found.

In return for support of this Assignment by the Sponsor Land Rover, National Geographic may provide images from the Assignment to the Sponsor for its use on its website, social media platforms, and other outlets to promote and publicize the Assignment.

Curated by:

Matt Adams
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Assignment Status
  • Open

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  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Sep 14, 2015.
Thank you for your contributions!

Discovering The End

Posted sep 3, 2015

We’re approaching the closing day for this assignment. It’s been over two weeks since we started and we’re up to over 15,000 images! 15,000! I can’t believe how many submissions there have been and how many amazing images I have seen during my pre-edits for this assignment. You, the Your Shot community, have impressed me beyond any expectations that I had before we started.

I’ve seen photos from unknown neighborhoods, foreign lands, and random back alleys, and portraits of people you're just meeting for the first time. I’ve seen experiments involving new perspectives and angles, as well as you—the photographers—getting out of your comfort zone to discover new techniques.

This is it, the final weekend before we close off to new submissions. As I’ve been going through edits, here are some final things that I think you should be thinking about.

Photographing something under the guise of “undiscovered” can be difficult. It’s a very broad topic. What I have enjoyed seeing are photos that show a new side of something we’ve seen before. Using reflections, getting low with your camera, or moving a few feet to the left or right have been effective in discovering a new image or idea for a photograph. Captions about going down streets you’ve never been on, traveling out to fields you’ve never seen, or taking a long car ride with the destination unknown have all brought out not only great images but also interesting stories. Your words stopped me during my edits as I paused to read what certain images are all about, and I thank you all for that.

As I stated when this assignment launched, I’m the new editor here. This was all unknown territory for me, and I had a lot of personal questions to ask myself before I started. Could I run an assignment? Could I actually be a photo editor and make the right decisions during an edit? My team here at National Geographic put their faith into me that I could do this, and you, the Your Shot community, have also given me that same kind of faith, which has been very reassuring. Keep shooting, keep telling me stories, and keep looking for new people and places to uncover for yourself. You never know what you might find on the other side of town or by taking a left home when you always took a right.

Good luck on the final days.

Slowing Down The Frames

Posted aug 27, 2015

We are well over a week into this assignment and I have to say I am very impressed with some of the images that I have been seeing. You see, this is a bit of an undiscovered area for me, being a photo editor for Your Shot. I’ve only been working in this job for a little over a month, and I’m still getting to know our photo community. I’ve never run an assignment that featured so many talented photographers submitting some very creative images.

When I published my first Editor's Update I wrote about viewing the work of Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Places and Robert Frank’s The Americans. One of the reasons I used those as early inspirations was the fact that both works feature photographers creating images of things from common or usual spaces and discovering a new meaning within the frame. Don’t look at this assignment as trying to find a new object we’ve never seen before or uncovering some new piece of land. Look for images that can be sometimes overlooked or are not given a second thought.

For example, this image shot by Your Shot member Marcia Mahoney.


I love this moment. We see a theater custodian cleaning up at the end of a night's performance. These are the moments where we would overlook this action. The show ends, the lights come up, and we move on with our lives. Sometimes it might just take us pausing for a second or taking our time before we discover an image we didn’t know existed.

I’m happy this is my first assignment because it reminds me that sometimes the choices we make in our lives can determine what types of images are presented to us. Just imagine if you take your time getting out of work, decide to catch the next train, or decide to take a left at the next light instead of right. You may find yourself discovering new images that you never thought about before or would be able to capture during your normal routine.

As an old TV show once said, “The truth is out there.” So are new images that need to be discovered—you may just need to slow down to find one.

Into the Wild

Posted aug 17, 2015

“I now walk into the wild.”—Jon Krakauer

This assignment asks you to explore the undiscovered, to take the long way home. It’s interesting how this worked out to be my first assignment as an editor for Your Shot. Just four weeks ago I was living in my hometown of Donora, Pennsylvania—a town that I grew up in and would later document with my phone and film cameras. While growing up there I thought I had seen all it had to offer and constantly planned my escape route. It wasn’t until I moved back after graduate school that I started to see it as an interesting space, started to see images appear in parts of the town that I never thought of venturing into. I started to see this place as something that needed to be photographed.

Now I find myself living in Washington, D.C., in a whole new neighborhood and city that I do not know well. I’m now starting to discover new areas that were once very foreign to me, and I’ve decided to set out on foot and begin to uncover new discoveries for myself in this city.

We need you, as the visual creators, to get out of your comfort zones and discover something new. Take a new path on your walk home, go to a destination you’ve always been meaning to explore, find a new perspective or angle to take an interesting frame, or meet some new people and take their portrait. For inspiration I think of William Eggleston’s early color photography work, Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Places and Robert Frank’s The Americans. All great photo books that you must own!

Godspeed to you all as you make your way "Out there … Thataway.”

Matt Adams

Matt Adams

Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Matt is a Producer on the Your Shot team.. He curates and produces the Daily Dozen gallery as well as monthly assignments. Before Nat Geo, Matt was a photography instructor and freelance photographer working for publications such as Wired, Spin, and Pittsburgh Magazine. Currently located in DC, but Pittsburgh is home.