The While on a Walk assignment closes on April 25, 2018! Submit your images by 12pm EST.
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Finding Family

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Published Jul 25, 2017 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 31 Contributors

    32 photos selected by

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer
    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    The authentic moments of a family are found when cameras usually aren't present. I took this phot...

    #canon #findingfamily #family #color

    With more than 6,900 photos submitted, there were so many beautiful images that showed moments of connection and love. As editors we like being surprised by an image and the way a photographer sees their world. We were drawn to photographs that communicated with lyricism and emotion in a creative way. Some photographs said so much by only showing hands or feet. Other images caught our attention with complex layers or reflections, while others relied on light or moments.

    Over 50 years since the wedding, I couldn't be there as I wasn't alive, but heading back to the s...

    #colour #vintage #wedding #church #photoinphoto #perspecitve

    Editor's Note

    This was a very clever way to take the viewer on a journey into the past while keeping us in the present. I like that the photographer’s hand is in the frame and that the photographer has a direct ... More

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    The beginning of the new family. Mom and Dad had the privilege of holding their daughter, right a...

    #quiet_moments #baby_birth #mother_baby #ngmcreate_3 #ivete_basso #baby_girl #ngmcreate #ngmcreate_2 #ngmcreate_1 #ngmcreate_3_1 #myshot

    Editor's Note

    Nice job filling the frame, Ivete! I really like how you got right into the action and captured a beautiful moment of connection. An intimate scene captured in an intimate way. Well done!

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    When she suddenly arrived two months early and had to stay in the ICU, my vision of her meeting h...

    #familyphotojournalism #newborn #documentaryfamilyphotography

    Editor's Note

    This is an odd image that grabbed my attention and held it. Compositionally it is interesting with a mix of symmetry and asymmetry. The gentle touch of the hands takes the whole thing to another le... More

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    To me the morning rituals and scenes are the most sensitive part of a day. Every time I open my e...

    #motherhood #finding_family_assignment #father #finding_family #baby #family #foot

    Editor's Note

    The little foot (and especially the little toe!) makes this image - but the bedding and the man's t-shirt also give a wonderful sense of texture. I also like how not seeing the man or the baby allo... More

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    At only 2 months of age these little feet will have traveled over 4000 miles through the west and...

    #monochrome #ontheroad

    Editor's Note

    This is really fun perspective of the relationship between child and parent. I love how the symmetry is broken by the baby's big toe on the right. Really nice.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    Matt Adams wrote: "...my advice is to think about what makes you want to pick up a camera and pho...

    #father #simpleday #bathroom #bathtime #family #children #father_and_child #familylife

    Editor's Note

    I love this frame Monika. This frame is so well composed, even the line from the door frame leads my eye to your husband playing with the youngest child. I love the layering, the complexity in this... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    We adopted Sassy from the local shelter. My daughter was deathly afraid of dogs and I thought it ...

    #fun #wind #child #dog #outdoors

    Editor's Note

    The wind is everything in this image - I can feel the truck moving down the road and the girl's blowing hair gives an energetic and fun connection between the two subjects. I love how the dog is le... More

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    These boys were born a year apart, and have been best friends ever since I can remember. They're ...

    #cute #fun #water #kids #cousins #stream #childhood #camping #boys

    Editor's Note

    The body language in this image is really tender and beautiful. I love how the boys' backs repeat the pattern of the rocks in the background.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    This Thanksgiving meal was meager compared to some but the prayer of thanks was just as powerful.

    #faith #holidays #grace #family #thanksgiving #tastelikehome

    Editor's Note

    I am drawn to the simplicity of this image - the modest meal, the hands embraced and the little boy's hand raised. The empty setting in the foreground gives me a sense of intimacy.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    The kids and I were in the car hanging out, listening to music after having drove down the road i...

    #play #familydocumentary #summer #feet #childhood #car

    Editor's Note

    The image beautifully captures the unstoppable kinetic energy of kids in a car! Love it.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    The hallway is a stage for the theater of family life. Our daughters somersault and crawl across ...

    #mothersanddaughters #parenting #familyhome #hallways

    Editor's Note

    This image says so much with body language.I love that the photographer decided to get lower to the ground either by bending down or dropping to a knee. This positioning makes all the difference. R... More

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    Family: I am unsure whether I want children of my own, but I do know one thing for sure. My niece...

    #happyday #thehumanstory #blackandwhite #anticipatethemoment #home #people #girl

    Editor's Note

    Great perspective and great moment! Love the expressiveness of the hair!

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    A portrait of cousins (and the dog), ranging from 4 to 18 years old during their annual family re...

    #colorful #quilts #cousins #mavicpro #family #findingfamily

    Editor's Note

    I like how the metaphor of a patchwork and family play out here in such a fun, colorful image with a different perspective from above. Really fun.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    The pursuit of the perfect prom dress with my twin granddaughters (my youngest daughter joined in...

    #my_heart #portraits #twins #dressing_room #teenagers #prom_dress_shopping #family_adventure

    Editor's Note

    Fun image that shows a mundane part of prom dress shopping in a fun way - the energy of this family (including the photographer) really comes through. Well done.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    The nightly Uno battle between dad & daughters often got quite intense - after all, they were bat...

    #kids #findingfamily #family

    Editor's Note

    Really interesting way to show a family activity. Also, we can learn so much about each person by just seeing a small part of them. Nice job!

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    shadow and road marks

    #white #roadmarks #concrete #shadow #paint #girl

    Editor's Note

    Love photos that make me laugh. Thank you.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    one of my most pictures i like when i start shooting wildlife it is for a baby monkey holding his...

    #wildlife #tender #kenya #protect #africa #tenderness #wild #hand #mother #monkey #ambosili

    Editor's Note

    This image gives us just enough visual information to know what we are looking at. I like how it leaves so much to the imagination but still works.

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    I took this picture of my best friend's family: his wife, his boston terrier, the shoes of his up...

    #family #street #geometry

    Editor's Note

    Love it! Really creative way to do the assignment. Symmetry and humor! Well done!

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    My family in our natural habitat; snuggling on the couch amidst our dogs.

    #canon #findingfamily #family #dogs

    Editor's Note

    This is a beautiful image showing intimacy and comfort. I love the entwined figures and the little dog looking on. Feels like family!

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    Our two babies relaxing in our bed after a long day of exercising. So much love for family member...

    #fur_babies #family #spoiled #children #love #dogs

    Editor's Note

    These pups look like the closest of friends. Nice job!

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    My husband (we are in our 60's so not our first marriage, have been married 8 years) has adopted ...

    #sundayscatslove #mybestphotosof2017 #whyweloveourpets

    Editor's Note

    This image is sweet, funny and real. The photographer did a great job capturing a real moment in her family that shows love, familiarity, and humor. Well done!!

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    A shoot from my family trip. We traveled 4 hrs through the rough terrains of Naliyamapthy in Kera...

    #rest #curious #reflection #blackandwhite #memories #tree #clouds #adventure #sky #travel #india

    Editor's Note

    Beautiful example of layering and a complex composition. Love it!

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    Pregnancy shooting with this beautiful couple at cenote Xcacelito.

    #pregnancy #lowkey #couple #portrait #underwater #cenote #trashthedress #maternal #freshwater

    Editor's Note

    Beautiful, dreamy, lyrical approach to the assignment. Well done.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    It was hot summer day here in Belgrade, air condition was working at the minimum temperature, but...

    #sun #summer #tanned #tanning #day #blackandwhite #brown #hot #skin #color

    Editor's Note

    I love the light in this photograph. So much of it is about the negative space. Tons of mystery within an intimate scene.

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    My daughter was born in China and spent her first three years in Shanghai. With our families back...

    #finding_family #portraits #love #china

    Editor's Note

    Body language. Body language. Body language! This image communicates love in so many ways. Excellent!

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    Homeless children, sleeping on the streets of Chittagong, very early morning, still dreaming abou...

    #together #bangladesh #chittagong #journalism #sad #asia #poverty #homeless #ramadan #sleeping

    Editor's Note

    This is a powerful photograph that shows that families can form in many situations. Well done.

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    My uncle and his granddaughters and his grandson have a good time in the garden. When their paren...

    #fruit #garden #life #happy #family #children #portrait #people

    Editor's Note

    Beautiful, joyful moment with great texture and energy. Wonderfully balanced composition and I love all the gestures going on with hands and feet.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    It's the people, not places that are most important when I travel. These little moments that stic...

    #cuba #goodbye #people #travel

    Editor's Note

    I'm drawn to the point of view in this image and how intimate it feels. The window creates a beautiful frame for the people on the porch and I like just having a bit of the person in the car - eno... More

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    This is my favorite shot that I have captured while Snow Storm Walking in SLC. The snow and storm...

    #bw #slc #together #monochrome #night #couple #blackandwhite #street #love #snowstorm #storm

    Editor's Note

    Beautiful light and mood in this image. The couple walking arm in arm in the snow storm creates a strong and emotional feeling. I love the headlights and the snow clung to the trees. Lovely.

    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer

    Some people consoling a crying girl during a funeral.

    #hands #abstract #blackandwhite #black #consolation #portrait #pain #people #sorrow

    Editor's Note

    This image is powerful compositionally with the hands moving our eye through the frame. More importantly the hands communicate the emotions of the scene. One is closed and tight – even pained – and... More

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    To find or to make a family?!Sometimes the family we make for ourselves,is more important than th...

    #oldwoman #facingyourfears #breakingbarriers #art #red #alone #dowry #portrait #loneliness #doll

    Editor's Note

    This photograph has a wonderful color palette that helps communicate the mood of the scene. This image has a lot of mystery that lets the viewer fill in the blanks. Nice.

    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer

    Remember, just because the assignment is over doesn’t mean you have to stop shooting– keep photographing family and what it means to you. Many years from now your photographs will take on new meaning and become an important historical document of your lives.

    Remember, just because the assignment is over doesn’t mean you have to stop shooting — keep photographing family and what it means to you. Many years from now your photographs will take on new meaning and become an important historical document of your lives.

    Even though we are both National Geographic photographers and travel the world documenting foreign cultures and other peoples' lives, we make sure to take pictures of everyday family moments. We look forward to sharing these moments with our daughter and telling her the stories behind the photos when she gets older.

    Thanks for sharing, and keep shooting!

    Matt Moyer and Amy Toensing
    National Geographic photographers

    About the Editors
    Matt Moyer
    Matt Moyer
    National Geographic Photographer
    Matt Moyer is a photojournalist committed to documenting the social and cultural issues that affect our world. His intimate photographs go behind the headlines to put a human face on the biggest issues of the day. For the past decade Moyer has spent his time photographing feature stories for National ...
    Amy Toensing
    Amy Toensing
    National Geographic Photographer
    Amy Toensing, an American photojournalist committed to telling stories with sensitivity and depth, is known for her intimate essays about the lives of ordinary people. Toensing has been a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine for over a decade and recently completed her fifteenth feature story for them. She has ...

    Photographers Published In the Story