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What is Family?

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Published Jun 19, 2019 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 34 Contributors

    34 photos selected by

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    This is the Cline Lucey family in a nutshell - all crawling all over each other and having a gran...

    #play #portrait #boys #family #kids #love #natgeo #mom #dad #boyhood #yourshot #julialuckett #clinelucey

    For this assignment, I challenged you to think about what family means to you. Thank you to every photographer who participated and shared a part of their family with me. I often felt transported throughout this assignment; going through your images made me feel like I was there with you witnessing some of these moments. I could feel your love and your grief, I could smell your homemade pasta that made my mouth water, and I could hear your children laughing. There is nothing more I can ask for when looking at an image than to feel something. Thank you for giving me that experience through your images.

    Avani had just returned from her long car ride. After three stressful weeks in the hospital since...

    #peace #baby #love #blackandwhite #tender

    Editor's Note

    So happy to hear Avani is finally home! This is a precious moment, captured so beautifully. Sometimes we need to stop and admire the moments around us and be in the moment.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    I grew up enjoying the great outdoors. My family and I would spend a good part of our summers tra...

    #nature #landscape #travel #family #adventure #vacation #roadtrip #seeingtheworld #withkids

    Editor's Note

    Perfect example of how the small moments sometimes are the best ones. This photo is simple and lovely. The light within the frame combined with the landscape in the background makes you feel at hom... More

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    My daughter and I had been butting heads over the weekend and when I was just about to leave the ...

    #fog #window #winter #daughter #car_window #love_you #family_assignment

    Editor's Note

    This image stood out the most to me. It's a simple little moment that happens between loved ones and I am so glad you captured it. My mom and I used to butt heads when I was a teenager and time and... More

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    My two girls by the lake. With siblings, I find there is such a fine line between affection and ...

    #ontario #summer #sisters #love #girls #canada #kids_of_summer

    Editor's Note

    A small, intimate detail. I love the composition of this frame, the body language guides you.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    Its hot summer here, but the morning is slight cool. Just captured the moment when my child's wer...

    #my_family #deep_sleep #what_is_family #kids_in_sleep

    Editor's Note

    The mosquito netting enhances the calmness of the morning. The colors are lovely, mixing the pinkish-purple with the floral bedsheets.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    My husband and our daughters. Girls love to listen to the music, especially when their dad is pla...

    #children #father #fatherhood #father_and_children #father_and_daughters #father_daughters

    Editor's Note

    YES, THIS COMPOSITION! Beautiful layering here used smartly to direct your eye exactly where it should go!

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    Family is looking through dust laden albums, old photographs that cherish the time that passed by...

    #roots #bond #memories #nostalgia #familytree #oldphotos #whatisfamily

    Editor's Note

    What a creative family tree! The boarders on the prints give it a vintage feel, while the vegetat... More

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    Every time I come back, mom's pasta makes me feel right at home.

    #color #home #family #casa

    Four old friends from Spain getting together like every day in Montevideo

    #old #portrait #ancient #elder #old_people

    What is family? It seems like a pretty straightforward question, but I challenged you to think of this in a deeper, more personal way. Through your images, I learned about your parents, your children, and your friends. I got to know families from places and cultures all over the world. As I went through your submissions, I found many commonalities: group shots of families that may have looked different but compositionally were the same. Pleasantly, I found that I related to many of these entries. While no family truly looks the same, there was an overwhelming universal feeling of love.

    When editing I chose images I was drawn to the most initially. I went through many rounds of edits trying to narrow down all the entries. Once I had it down to the final 50, captions became key. 

    Saturday is our day off. At the morning only my youngest son wakes up and enjoy his quality time ...

    #blackwhite #saturday #checkers #father__son #famifly #what_is_family_assignment

    Editor's Note

    I really enjoy that the focus of the image is the game itself. It adds another layer to the image by showing us how special that game is to the two playing it.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    This was taken a few years ago. It is my family home, where my Grandparens (in the background) ca...

    #family #kids #generations

    Editor's Note

    I love the layering here, the children in the foreground with older members of the family in the background. The caption indicates that the fun time is timeless.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    May 26, 2019. Our family was about to walk across our neighbor's field to go visit him. The kid...

    #summer #family #father #dad #childhood #ozarklife

    Editor's Note

    This is a small moment that screams volumes. The way Terra framed this, makes it feel so intimate. Body language is a powerful tool in photography!

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    Some of my favorite memories as a child were the summers I spent with my best friends. Those girl...

    #play #fun #summer #laughter #childhood #sprinkler #bestfriends

    Editor's Note

    This photo is so lovely, and the caption adds so much depth to it. Thank you for sharing your personal memory, it feels like your daughter and her friends are following in your old footsteps.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    My Dad pulled down the branch heavy with ripe red fruits, Mom held the bowl, little Sister picked...

    #fruit #gardening #harvest #cherry_tree #quality_time #family_life #4in1 #quadruplets

    Editor's Note

    This is exactly what I mean't by showing us your family through food somehow. It's a unique frame in that it isn't just a traditional dish bu additionally a moment between a family.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    Christmas and new year usually winds up round one of the extended families kitchen tables, where ...

    #family #blackandwhite #bnw

    Editor's Note

    This photo reminds me of puzzle time with my family. My grandmother would sit for hours with the other women in my family working on extravagant, large puzzles together.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    Yulia is a 31-year-old surrogate mother from southern Ukraine. Mother of a 3.5-year-old child, sh...

    #mother #hospital #maternity #ukraina #pregnacy #gpa #surrogacy

    Editor's Note

    The light and sense of place in this portrait is beautiful, Kamila. Thank you so much for such an informative caption that includes who this woman is, what she's doing and why! She is giving a beau... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    When I think of family automatically I see my daughter. I have all I need when I look into her e...

    #beauty #orange #people #girl #hair #family #daughter #love #hope #eys

    Editor's Note

    This is a lovely candid moment of your daughter! I really love how the mirror reflection allows you to see two angles of her and her fun hair.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    Before closing his eyes.

    #black #portrait #bed #wrinkles #pillow #withe

    Editor's Note

    A lovely intimate portrait of your relative. Just be careful in your labeling, the title reflects a grandmother, but your caption reflects a grandfather.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    A dorze daughter, and her mother in the background. The mother is looking up in the background fo...

    #mother #daugher

    Editor's Note

    Generation pictures are so timeless. There will always be a past and a future, it is so beautifully depicted in this photo.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    I have a small family but I had all I ever needed. A wonderful mum and grandma who taught me so m...

    #family #memories #three_generations #family_home #surburbanlife

    Editor's Note

    I really enjoy how different this submission was- it made it stand out to me. It's very hard to take a photo of a photo and make it unique. The background makes me feel the presence of home while t... More

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    A little one gently plays with her mommies hair, as they wait for a bottle to warm.

    #hair #family #baby #toddler #mommy #whatisfamily

    Editor's Note

    A sweet moment between a daughter and her mother. The focus being on the tender touch of mommy's hair. It feels innocent and the way the arm reaches through the middle of the frame guides your eye.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    On a sunny afternoon, swimming with the children in a beautiful mountain lake. Just to share time...

    #blue #boat #mountain #lake #family #swim

    Editor's Note

    The details of this image really make it come together. I love that you chose to include corner of the boat, and the hand of another person being present as members of the family are swimming. Over... More

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    i was watching my familiy while they were exploring the unknown animal ... and took a photo...

    #animal #family #kids #parents #curiosity

    Editor's Note

    This photo perfectly encompasses childhood innocence and curiosity. It's a lovely small moment to cherish.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    My wife giving her horse Cheyenne a big hug. He follows her around like a big puppy. She said s...

    #nature #horse #wild #animal #friends #cheyenne #hugs #hug #bestfriends #horse_back_riding #horse_hug

    Editor's Note

    Great moment you captured of your wife and Cheyenne! Animals are an integral part of family for many.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    What started as washing the lunch plates turned into playtime with a sink full of suds. Once the ...

    #bubbles #kidsplay #chorse

    Editor's Note

    Such a fun moment and paired with the caption, you can't help but smile while looking at this!

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    Tickles from Nana always help a grouchy mood.

    #family #blackandwhite #generations #documentary

    Editor's Note

    I love how this image is composed. Beautiful layering that makes your eye move throughout the frame from left to right.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    I struggle. The pressure to ‘bounce back’ after pregnancy is daunting. My body has changed. My hi...

    #motherslove #selflove #boymom

    Editor's Note

    The body is an incredible vessel, this photo is a stunning reflection of that. I also love the first person caption that allows me to learn more about you.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    My oldest son Jake visiting his little brother Connor in the hospital Jan. 2019. A year earlier, ...

    #people #family #places #hospital #brothers #documentary #black_and_white #what_is_family

    Editor's Note

    Thank you for sharing this deeply intimate photo and moment. I am so very sorry for your loss. This is a lasting image, that you and your family will always remember.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    My wife and I lived in a Senegalese village for 2 years. We called the man and woman of the fami...

    Editor's Note

    This is an example of a great caption! The photo is lovely, and the caption really drove it home.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    They do everything together, even doing nothing together in the lazy afternoon.

    #afternoon #childhood #siblings #interior #indoor_light

    Editor's Note

    Feels like a lazy Sunday at home. Very cute and relatable.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    1988. I'm four years old; my mother is 35. It's somewhere around my birthday, I think. I remember...

    #mother #family #daughter #love #difficult #blackandandwhite #sentimental_journey #resemblence

    Editor's Note

    This caption is everything. It adds so much depth and love to the modern selfie. I related to this picture in a very personal way!

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    I loved reading your personal experiences and feelings in your captions. Many of your words described with such beauty what your family meant to you. Natalia O. wrote one of the captions that stood out to me the most:

    "1988. I'm four years old; my mother is 35. It's somewhere around my birthday, I think. I remember blurry fragments of this trip, my mother's soft jumper, hard wooden beads on her necklace; her hands' smell of cigarettes.

    2019. I'm almost 35 years old. I don't have children to take for a trip. I wear neither jumpers nor jewelry; I don't smoke.

    But still, I'm her daughter. And she's my mother.”

    I got goosebumps reading this because of how relatable it was. When my mother was my age, she was married to my father. They lived in a house together in the suburbs and had already shared 10 years of their lives with one another. She was selling furniture and had that big ‘80s hair.

    It's fun as a parent to be in the back seat sometimes to watch the interaction between your kids ...

    #flight #flying #family #kids #adventure #minnesota

    Editor's Note

    Your son's expression of wonderment is priceless. These are special moments to keep as mementos.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    What is Family? I define it as what makes us feel at home in our hearts. A set of people who ar...

    #mountain #family

    Editor's Note

    This moment feels so calm and still. I really enjoy how you framed the socks in the mountain allowing them to pop out from the darker background. It's reflective of family in very unique way.

    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist

    Now I’m 25 and am living in an apartment in New York City. I’m nowhere near ready to be married or start a family. I am freelancing as a photojournalist with little to no stability in my schedule. I wear mostly black clothing and have long, curly hair that falls onto my face when I laugh.

    But still, I am her daughter. And she’s my mother.

    About the Editor
    Jackie Molloy
    Independent Visual Journalist
    Jackie is an award winning, internationally published visual journalist, currently based in New York City, working regionally. Family is the root of Jackie's passion for storytelling as she enjoys exploring modern families overcoming adversities all over the spectrum in topics ranging from transgender rights, fertility issues, foster care, and disability. ...

    Photographers Published In the Story