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Pulitzer Center Update April 18, 2017

National Geographic Your Shot 'Strong Women' Finalists Selected

Media: Authors:
Unwanted and Unprotected: Widows in India

When grief is compounded by cruelty: Societies of widows, battling the stigma of exclusion and the...

author #1 image author #2 image
Multiple Authors

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.  

"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


Three women grouped together: an elderly woman smiling, a transwoman with her arms folded, and a woman holding her headscarf with a baby strapped to her back.


Gender Equality

Gender Equality