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Because of Her

This assignment ran from Oct 9 to Oct 30, 2017.

Before Jane Goodall went to Gombe to study chimpanzees for Louis Leakey, we knew very little about them in the wild. Because of Jane, and her close observations, our knowledge about their behavior greatly increased—and sparked further study, research, and conservation efforts. Before embarking on what would become a 55-year study of chimpanzees, Jane had no previous background in science. She was an average woman following her passion for studying animals. For this Your Shot assignment, inspired by the National Geographic Channel documentary Jane  and the October 2017 National Geographic magazine story "Becoming Jane", we want to celebrate and highlight how everyday women contribute to society and our personal lives.

Take a few minutes to think about the women in your life. Your mom, wife, sister, daughter, teacher, mentor—who are the women in your life that inspire you? Maybe you’ve witnessed her love, perseverance, and achievement. Maybe you’ve documented or experienced a special moment made possible because of her.

For this assignment, National Geographic photographer Amy Toensing will be our guest curator. Why? Because of her, I am here today as a producer for you, the Your Shot community. I met Amy more than 18 years ago when I was an assistant to two National Geographic photo editors, and she was the photo intern. Even though I was just a kid just out of college, Amy took the time to listen to and answer all my questions. She inspired me. She even let me crash at her apartment when I went to go interview for graduate school at Ohio University — her alma mater. Amy gave me the encouragement I needed to follow my dreams of becoming a photographer.

And now 18 years later, I am excited to be curating this Your Shot assignment with her. Earlier this year, I produced our “Strong Women” assignment for Amy, which was inspired by her National Geographic magazine story "For Widows, Life After Loss." Working with Amy is very special for me, because I will never forget how kind she was to me all those years ago. Because of her, I have experienced first-hand how special it is to receive advice and encouragement from someone at National Geographic. Because of her…

We look forward to being inspired by the women in your life.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Amy Toensing
National Geographic Photographer

Curated by:

David Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Amy Toensing
National Geographic Photographer
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • 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 Nov 13, 2017.
Thank you for your contributions!

New Your Shot assignment: "The Love of Parents"

Posted jun 8, 2018

Hi everyone -

In case you missed it, National Geographic photographers Amy Toensing and Matt Moyer are currently curating a Your Shot assignment called "The Love of Parents." I hope you all consider participating.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Your Shot

"Inspiring Experiences" assignment

Posted apr 2, 2018

In case you missed it, I am curating an assignment called “Inspiring Experiences” that I am curating with my mentor and former editor Jenn Poggi. Submission deadline is April 9, 2018.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

While You Wait...

Posted nov 10, 2017

Hi everyone —

While you wait for our final story for "Because of Her," I encourage you all to participate and submit to our current assignments, “Unsung Hero” curated by National Geographic photographer Matt Moyer and “Quest for Happiness” curated by National Geographic photographer Matthieu Paley.

“Unsung Hero” is inspired by the Nat Geo Channel series “The Long Road Home.” “Quest for Happiness” is inspired by the November 2017 National Geographic magazine cover story, “The Search for Happiness.”

Thanks everyone for being a part of the Your Shot family.
Keep up the great work.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Incredible Photos of Real-Life Wonder Women

Posted oct 20, 2017

In the theme of inspiring women, check out this Nat Geo Adventure gallery of 31 images taken by Your Shot photographers featuring female athletes tackling extreme adventures: "Incredible Photos of Real-Life Wonder Women."

Keep up the great work everyone. I hope you all take the time to encourage one another on the assignment discussion board by favoriting each others' photos, and leaving comments and feedback. Because to me, that is what makes Your Shot special: we are a community — not a contest — where together we will become better photographers and more thoughtful storytellers.

And don't forget to follow us on Instagram (@natgeoyourshot); we often share Editor's Favorites, like this photo by Your Shot photographer Darryl MacDonald: "Hanging Out."

Have a great weekend everyone.


Editor's Update 01

Posted oct 19, 2017

The “Because of Her” assignment is still going, and we’ve seen some really inspiring images come in. We want to share a few with you as you continue photographing the women in your lives.

Here are some examples of beautifully captured relationships:

"Because...... Words are never enough!" by Raghu Madanagopal
"Mother is a role model" by "Ranit Chatterjee

We love how these images convey a feeling more than a literal moment or portrait of a woman:

"Fading stress" by Terrell Groggins
"Frozen in Illinois" by Jay Keywood
"40 & Pregnant " by "Candace Rossi

As you continue working on this assignment, take your vision a step further and strive to communicate on an emotional level — these are always the strongest images. For example, we love this image of a woman as teacher and role model: "She is also a teacher" by Tuan Truong. We saw a number of images addressing this theme, but this image uses light, color, and mood to communicate on a more emotional level.

Keep introducing us to the women in your lives who inspire you!

Amy and David

David Lee

David Lee

Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Before joining the Your Shot team, David covered the White House for Time and Newsweek, and served as an official photographer for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also started The Waiting List, a non-profit storytelling project humanizing the statistics of organ donation.

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 covered cultures around the world including the last cave dwelling tribe of Papua New Guinea, the Maori of New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga. She has also covered issues such as the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and Muslim women living in Western culture. For 4 years she documented Aboriginal Australia which was published in the June, 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine.