An Editor’s Thoughts on an Upcoming Assignment

National Geographic and Feeding America are partnering to tell the true stories of the people who experience hunger and those who are working to solve the problem. By shining a light on the efforts of individuals who are working to improve food security for their families and their communities, we believe that we can inspire compassion and understanding, and make solving hunger a common aspiration for our society. Photographer Annie Griffiths is on assignment for Feeding America and will be running this Your Shot assignment concurrently. A selection of photos from these assignments will be published in a National Geographic book, in partnership with Feeding America.

This is an important assignment, and I’ll be out there shooting at the same time you are! Together, we’ll be making a book, and I thought it might be helpful to tell you what I’ll be looking for as a photographer and as your editor:

-I’ll be looking for real people in real situations. The goal of this project is to show that people from all walks of life can hit a rough patch and may at some point need food assistance. So I want to humanize the work by capturing moments—the relationships, humor, tenderness—that will help readers to see themselves and their families in the same situation. Earn the right to go home with people and show their lives. In every circumstance, we must show sensitivity and respect for our subjects.

-I want to show diversity. Hardworking people can be thrust into food insecurity because of a layoff, a health issue, or other circumstances beyond their control. Let’s see those real conditions. It’s also important to show a variety of neighborhoods and regions of the country. I want to see moments, portraits, and details, and get a sense of place.

-I will be looking for accurate information about the people and places in everyone’s photos. It will be important to understand what I’m looking at so that I can choose the best stories. Pictures without captions about who, what, where, and why are much less likely to be chosen. Photojournalists must also be serious reporters.


Submit your photo to The Story of Hunger and Hope assignment launching November 6. 

Photograph by Annie Griffiths

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s