Pulitzer Center Update

National Geographic Your Shot 'Strong Women' Finalists Selected


Fatumah is a single teenage mother living in Mukon, Uganda. She was unable to finish secondary school because the school fees were too expensive for her parents. Fatumah supports her family through subsistence agriculture and occasional work as a cleaner, while also shouldering the burden of fetching water and doing household chores. An aspiring business owner, Fatumah attends entrepreneurship workshops at a local NGO twice a week. Image by Mariana Krueger. Uganda.


Woman walking along the road from Sacsayhuaman to Cusco with her Alpaca. Image by Ashley C. Peru.


This picture was taken at a brick kiln where the women were transferring bricks from the kiln to the truck. These females were carrying almost 10-12 bricks, all together on their head. The working conditions was quite tough. Dust was making breathing even difficult. Here I have tried to showcase that like males, females also can do the work in which physical strength is required. Image by Tejal Mewar.


Dancers. Image by Marcello Ceraulo. Roma, 2016.


Dr. Floarea Ciupitu, 61, has been a family doctor in Gangiova for the past three decades. In Romania, doctors in the rural areas are outnumbers by peers in cities two to one. The healthcare sector is overrun with crises and never-ending problems. Ciupitu is living proof that, despite all the difficulties and the problems in a flawed system, there still are doctors who commit to their parents. She stands to help remember that being a doctor is a calling. Image by Ioana Modlovan. Romania.


A 23-year-old Khanti mother helps in the tribes bull selection while carrying her daughter. Image by Zé Bomba.


My daughter Milena with her father during a boxing lesson in our garden. The bag hit her. She was upset and sad. Her father explained how to properly hit the bag. My daughter loves sports, boxing, and judo. Her dream is to become a doctor or a policewoman. I love the combination of sensitivity and strength. Image by Joanna Milcarz.


A Syrian woman cradles her crying baby on the shores of Lesbos after more than six hours at sea in a flimsy rubber dinghy.The image reminds me of the lines from Warren Shire’s poem Home: ‘You have to understand, no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.’ Image by Harriet Salem. Greece.

The Pulitzer Center is partnering with Your ShotNational Geographic’s photo community made up of over 800,000 photographers from 195 countries–to create photographic assignments focused around Pulitzer Center reporting and issues. The first assignment was to share the stories of strong women and to answer the question: “What inspires you about the woman or women you photographed?”

The assignment was curated and edited by National Geographic photographer Amy Toensing and Deputy Director of Photography Whitney Johnson; together they worked on the February 2017 National Geographic magazine story, “Life After Loss.” Amy is also a Pulitzer Center grantee, producing the project “A World of Widows” that documents communities of widows on three continents.  


My daughter wants to fly to the moon. I wanted to create a surreal world with the balloons in which you have several angles of view, like having several cameras showing the landscape and Sophia the astronaut. Image by Juan Osorio.


In this picture, my wife seems to double in two, just like a superhero. If I think about strong women in my life, my thoughts can only go first to my wife, the mother of our four children — and how she has managed to have a great academic career with all the busy schedule of everyday life, amplified by having to handle such a large family. Image by Stefano Zocca.


A pilgrim on her daily predawn walk by the Ganga Ghats. Image by Shameem Sha.


After the war, life recovered thanks to the strong will of people. The independence of women is one of the main ingredients of the strong will. Pictured here is Bosnian women enjoying their lives in a bar of Sarajevo. Image by Hua Wang. Bosnia.


Allison, a mother of eight, breastfeeds her youngest daughter at the kitchen table in their two-bedroom cabin on a commune in the redwood forest. Past a gate marked ‘Private Property — Keep Out,’ the Murphy family live with no plumbing, indoor bathroom, heat, or central air. Image by Rachel Bujalski. United States.


A Kurdish woman with anxiety, sadness, hope… full of life.  She has no way, no other choices. She has to continue and look forward to something. She has a treasure called hope. Image by Ali Lorestani.


This photo is one of the last ones from the summer of 2015. That summer was me as a mother do-or-die — after the death of my mum, who was fighting for her life after being diagnosed with cancer several years ago, and after my husband left our household — I had to decide, I had only two possibilities. As a mother, I am going to keep the photos of their life and power which we were able to create. And when everything passed away, the only feeling that I had was the goose skin… happiness, tears, and power. Image by Kata Sedlak.


When strength is described in lace and high heels. Taken on 23rd Street in New York City. Image by Melissa Breyer. United States.

"It has been an honor looking through the thousands of photos of Strong Women and reading the stories behind them. We saw moments of friendship, love, motherhood, hard work, grief, bravery, vulnerability and beauty. In documenting these women with your camera, you celebrated their lives. Thank you for letting us be a part of that.

"For our final story, we chose images with beautiful light and a strong composition. We selected photos that delighted and moved us. We also considered the captions in our final selections. In many cases, the captions helped enhance your submissions—a pretty picture alone isn’t enough. When deciding between two equally compelling images, the image with the stronger caption made the final cut. A robust caption should include the basics (who, what, where, when, and why), as well as the intention of the picture, which gives the viewer a deeper appreciation of what is happening in the image. Some of you included a quote from the subject or a relevant line of poetry—a lovely addition.

"We know it takes a great deal of courage to share your work, and we appreciate having the opportunity to learn a bit more about you and the strong women in your life—thanks again," said National Geographic photographer, Amy Toensing, and National Geographic Deputy Director of Photography, Whitney Johnson.

To view the assignment and editor's notes that accompany the photographs, visit NatGeoYourShot.com.


Lanyero Christine languishes over her 18-year-old daughter and Nodding disease sufferer in Awere, Pader District, Uganda. Monica is close to death yet her mother still keeps the family of six children together; her son died of the disease in 2014. Image by Geoff Walker. Uganda.


Fljurija Katunari, 18, cares for her two-month-old daughter in a shack without water or electricity on the outskirts of Belgrade, Serbia. Neither she nor her husband have any formal employment. Tens of thousands of Roma people were displaced by the war in Kosovo, including Fljurija’s family, and settled in Serbia. Seventeen years later, many still lack the documents, including a simple ID card, that would entitle them to social benefits, health care, and the right to work. Image by Jodi Hilton. Serbia.


This is a photo of Haddy and Awa, two Gambian models; they represent the strength of women as family, sisters in the world. They nurture one another and unite to overcome social inequality and injustices. Awa says women in fashion modeling challenge male dominance because it is an industry where they get paid more than men, have opportunities for business, and have greater influence. She says modeling inspires her to show the world what she can do with her potential as a woman. Image by Justin Anantawan. Gambia.


Transportation of the groom’s dowry to the bride’s place in August 2016. Pre-wedding traditional custom in Olymbos, South Aegean. Image by Georgios Tatakis. Greece.


A winter hike up Mt. Adams in White Mountains, New Hampshire. Image by S. Wu. United States.


Casey Morton spars with her full-time coach Jairo Escobar at the World Class Boxing Gym in San Francisco. This is from my series ‘Fights Like a Woman which documents Hawaiian boxer Casey Morton’s journey to becoming a professional athlete in a male-dominated sport. Image by Erin Lefevre. United States.


A portrait of a Tanzanian woman taken during an interview about nutrition for a project in the country’s rural area. We chose to interview women because they are pillars of the society. They are mothers, they cook, they are workers, they are strong, they are women. Image by Bianca Rizzi. Tanzania.


Transfer and fast evacuation of a wounded in the Spanish army. Image by David Martinez Moreno.


Image by Roza Vulf. Rome, 2017.


This photo was taken on a rescue boat in the Mediterranean Sea. A nine-month pregnant woman fainted because of heat and gasoline fumes from the engine of the dangerously overcrowded boat she was traveling on, in a desperate attempt to reach European shores. She took the incredibly hard decision to leave her home country, ruled by an oppressive regime, and embark on dangerous journey to guarantee a better future for her baby. She survived the crossing and gave birth few days later. Image by Gabriele Francois Casini.


Nevaeha Nelson, also known as Ya-Ya, poses for a portrait at Future Boxing Club in Downtown Rochester. The Future Boxing Club is an afterschool program for the youth of Rochester, and was designed to keep the children off the streets. I asked Ya-Ya who is one of the only girls who boxes here to look at me like one of the guys had beat her in a fight. ‘The boys never beat me’ was how she responded. Image by Jessica Plance. United States.


A half century of wedded life, raising children, teaching special needs children for 30 years wore these beautiful hands thin. Still there was strength for her man. Image by Bill Beckman.