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Quest for Happiness

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Published Dec 12, 2017 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 18 Contributors

    18 photos selected by

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    A young couple snuggles at an interfaith candlelight prayer vigil for peace in Pittsburgh's East ...

    #faith #candlelight_vigil #peace #pittsburgh #interfaith #love

    Achieving happiness is not as easy as it sounds—it’s an endless quest. As you demonstrated in your submissions, it can come in many shapes. And in photography, seeing happiness ultimately depends on the interpretation of the viewer and his or her personal history.

    In this final story, I selected images to show the wide variety of happiness, from the instant, fleeting happiness, to the deeply seated one. Everything from smiles and touches to feelings of communion or spiritual awakening. I was especially touched by the moments of intimacy that some of you captured in times of hardship or during life-changing events. So, thank you for that, and remember—there are no winners and losers in the quest for happiness, just different views.

    Best, 

    Matthieu Paley

    For my dad's 70th birthday my sister with her family my wife my mother and I surprised him with a...

    #happiness #music #marriage #love #celebration

    Editor's Note

    Different emotions on each faces, feeling of tenderness and vibration, music bringing people together, lovely shot, thank you!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    Although Burkina Faso's population is among the youngest in the world, with almost 50% younger th...

    #sahel #mudbrick #mosque #play #burkina #climbing #bani #islam #minaret #joy #children

    Editor's Note

    Great angle, these spikes add up to the tension of this childhood games that we all look back to with some nostalgia... thanks!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    A couple gazes into each others eyes while dancing at the Junior Ball at Norwich University. This...

    #university #youth #ball #embrace #junior #vermont #norwich #love #formal #college #dance

    Editor's Note

    Wonderful, Mark. Another unique way of seeing love. Thank you..

    John Stanmeyer
    National Geographic Contributing Photographer

    Gregniqua screams her head off while riding the "ring of fire" as her family and friends watch. ...

    #speed #faceyourfears #ourworldinmotion #adventure #people #culture

    Editor's Note

    Nice caught in the moment, must have been fun/challenging for you to shoot, as long as the camera stays firmly in your hand!! Well done!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    India is famous for it's diversity. We all know the nation for it's various traditions. 'Wari' (a...

    #clickvinayak #songs #tradition #holiness #devotion #procession #traditionsaroundtheworld

    Editor's Note

    So many faces, nice to study this picture, thanks!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    A Mundari boy showing his love to a calf at a cattle camp in South Sudan. The cattle is very impo...

    #cattlecamp #mundari #cattle #pet #southsudan

    Editor's Note

    Nice light and intimate moment that shows our connection to nature, great!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    Its Autumn, its festive time for Bengalis. These small boys and girls from rural Bengal are enjoy...

    #bengal #happiness #ruralbengal #children #india

    Editor's Note

    Lovely light and expressions. I like how the reeds add up to the softness of the light, great!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    I got to be a part of this beautiful birth with this beautiful family. She went all natural and t...

    #happiness #life #birth #family #babies

    Editor's Note

    Very intimate situation and you got a great image out of it, bravo!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    There is a love carried in the hearts of those that care for the sick and needy that is pure and ...

    #help #happy

    Editor's Note

    Touching image, the hand and facial language speaks volume, thanks!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    After full three day of fasting during Chatt festival , Indian women on last day stand in mid of ...

    #faith #tradition #women #people #travel #culture #india

    Spotted this lovely couples when I was walking in a small town called Pasuruan in East Java Indon...

    #blackandwhite #private_time #bonding_of_love #simplicity_and_happiness

    After a long tiring day a group of kids studying in Madrasa(school for religious studies) find so...

    #dusk #bangladesh #joy #children #people #travel

    Editor's Note

    Excellent image. You caught this moment at the right time and the sand flying in the air just adds more depth to the photo.

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    Quest for Happiness? Providing a life for our children to experience happiness must be near the t...

    #mutton_bustin #quest_for_happiness_assignment

    Editor's Note

    Lovely frame of excitement, certainly lots of joy in this girls face!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    Today in Poland is Children Day. I wish that all the children in the world always be happy. Dec...

    #fun #gopro5 #child #muine #vietnam #kids #childhood #asia #travel #gopro

    Editor's Note

    Love how the shot makes us feel like leaning left, with the movement! Nice!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    Burabay National Park, in northern Kazakhstan, is known for its lakes and mountains. When I visit...

    #prayer #kazakhstan #prayerflags #muslim

    Editor's Note

    Great composition, you positioned yourself there to create depth in the image, leaving us a little sun to crack through the prayer flags, great!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    Single mum of two. Ovarian cancer. Nobody, except her children, had seen her without a wig or cap...

    #happiness #documemtary #hope #cancer #friends

    Editor's Note

    Very nice and thanks for sharing this intimate moment with us. I like how you included the wig on the right, not cutting it out of the frame, this brings more element to the story you share with us.

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    The most peaceful and happy times in my life are when I am alone (or as close as I can get) in na...

    #climber #snow #italy #clouds #mountains #dolomitesitaly #tre_cime_di_lavaredo #sunset

    Editor's Note

    Imposing perspective on the grandeur of nature, thanks!

    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer

    About the Editor
    Matthieu Paley
    National Geographic Photographer
    Born in France, Matthieu Paley has travelled all over the world for National Geographic magazine. Focusing his efforts on regions that are misrepresented or misunderstood, he is especially committed to issues relating to diminishing cultures, sustainability and the environment. Matthieu’s fine art images have been shown in solo exhibitions worldwide ...

    Photographers Published In the Story