Thank you very much for
stretching yourselves into this assignment, which has taught me more than I
hoped about homes worldwide. I've seen what you've thought long and hard
about before sending, and your images have run from boring to exquisite. Some
indicate days, maybe weeks of thinking and planning, and others perhaps a
single shot made while walking by. As always there is no formula for
success, except that both need luck or magic. I have seen images made in a
small room and others that seem to include the universe, moments of sheer joy
and others completely depressing, some that were extremely personal and others
overly analytical. Of course, no two approaches are the same.
following images are those I selected from the 12,410 images sent in. Every day
I had the pleasure of looking through several hundred frames submitted in
answer to my own quest of what constitutes home for both me and the Your Shot
community. Each photographer in this selection showed me the biggest leap in
imagination, each striving to push the interpretation to the maximum, all
capturing a moment in time that serves as a metaphor for what home means. You
all took this opportunity to use the materials at hand and to perhaps see
something about your daily lives that is the summation of what home is to
We start with Sotia's frame of either a miniature home and cars or gigantic
lamps, but mostly you wonder who made that display, and why did the
photographer decide to send this frame in? The questions this image asks
are better than the answers it provides. I wonder if the lamps went on at night
and if the scene were better or worse for it.
Larry's photo of the couple in the grass is a happy, un-self-conscious moment
caught by someone who could see the value in recording their abandon and
happiness. Often what constitutes a home is who you're with. Next comes the precise surroundings of the gentleman with his
suitcase and sideburns, waiting for something to happen, perhaps leaving his home to go to a new one.
There are the children rushing the photographer, Shamim with what looks
like a weapon, but as they descend in size back to the little one who can just
barely keep up, you sense their intentions aren't dangerous. The happy
smiles and running legs along the mound of light earth come forward and
backward to the white cap on their leader. Then to the image of the wounded knee cyclist with her hot purple lights. It's a play on playing,
whether you have expensive toys or only sticks and stones.
The black and white trio of images—each depending on the others—serve
as a mini picture story: the interior with beautiful ancient kitchen and woman,
the blowing curtain on the minimalist geometric structure, the incredible
carved and etched rope. All speak to aesthetic appreciation, with each home beautified
in unique and personal ways.
Home and how we depend on each other to create it. The photo by Carl Yared of the Christmas
celebration of (perhaps) a father and daughter who depend entirely for its
meaning and mood on each other, not the cold interior as they stare at the glow
of their tree.
The tangle of art students' bodies and the warmth of their
friendship at this moment might support them when away from their individual
homes. Here, they have a place together for this instant.
Next comes Urdoi's picture of the the small, doll-like child amidst the belongings of her
home, the subtle colors of the curtain, and how meaningful your surroundings
might be to your happiness. Followed by the photo by Andrey Dzhioev of the family of happy
children growing up in a safe and creative environment which allows us
all the chance to say, "I wish I were part of that group." Are
they all dressed to depart on that sailing ship?
This invention by Debi McRaw was made from
the raw material of the photographer's life. This
bright, happy montage is sweet and meaningful,
sent to us from deep inside motherhood. An
un-photographic thought immortalized with her camera.
The girls and women in these next images show the range of our
lives, how before we can walk we are nurtured, and from then on it's up to
us. The woman in her basement with more wash than she should have, the photo by Justin Moeller of the
young girl in the desert with a too big dress and armored car kicking up
dust, and Dany's photo of the nursing mothers and hungry children. Each a home of questionable
comfort but all displaying their indisputable truth.
Overall, you have exceeded my
expectations—thank you for taking me with you to so many new and thought
provoking locations and introducing me to your families and friends. You
have stretched your minds and more than illustrated my words—you filled in what
I didn't know how to say. I am grateful and congratulate you all on
working so hard to share with others how you made my words into your
images. I wish you luck on the next Your Shot assignment. Never give up.
Susan Welchman is a Senior Editor for National Geographic Magazine and has worked for the Society for the last 35 years. She was a photographer at the Philadelphia Daily News and then worked at the New York Post as a photo editor. She then came to National Geographic and has ...