When we explore new perspectives, we find inspiration all around us.
That is the ethos behind Assignment: Inspiration — a partnership between National Geographic and Mazda which challenged photographers to capture extraordinary moments that leave a lasting impact. Thanks to the two brands’ shared belief in the power of human potential to inspire us to see the world differently, Assignment: Inspiration was born.
Discover the story behind Assignment: Inspiration
For Assignment: Inspiration, three photographers were selected from Instagram entrants and invited to California, where a series of on-location photography challenges awaited.
Under the mentorship of experts from National Geographic and Mazda, three visual storytelling assignments, or quests, sent the photographers to beautiful locations across Southern California. Each photographer sought to capture stories — and ultimately, a chance to become National Geographic’s Next Great Storyteller.
The quests were informed by photographer David Guttenfelder’s visit to Hiroshima, Japan where Mazda is headquartered. During his travels he photographed the culture from which Mazda was born and where it still sources inspiration and its dedication to craftsmanship. The three quests were designed based on what he learned.
The first quest sent finalists Nina Mayer Ritchie, Beth Mancuso, and Sam Tippetts in search of the Spirit of Takumi. In Japan, a Takumi is a master craftsperson — an artisan who dedicates their life to mastering their skill.
The second quest sent the finalists in search of unique reflections. Inspired by the idea that a reflection is a moment in which we see the world differently and our perception is altered, the photographers were tasked with capturing an otherwise dormant surface coming to life by reflecting the world around it.
For the third and final quest, the photographers were sent in search of the human connection created through shared discovery. Nina, Beth, and Sam each took unique and personal approaches to finding moments of humans being uplifted.
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The “uplifting” theme for Assignment Inspiration through @natgeo touched me the most. For this assignment I went to @rideontherapy they are an equine therapy center that works with special needs people. These individuals face so much adversity everyday in the real world. You could tell that when they visited Ride On that they felt like they belonged. The riders beamed with pride and joy. It was this amazing circle of connection trainer-volunteer-rider-parent-horse. You could tell everyone involved was taking away so much from it. It was incredibly beautiful to witness. Thanks so much for having me Ride On! Link to the whole video in my stories and highlights. The show airs tomorrow on Nat Geo channel at 9pm CST. #yourshotphotographer #natgeo #mazda #horsetherapy
Stunning photos were produced, and captivating stories told, but only one finalist was ultimately given the keys to a new Mazda and sent on a new road with National Geographic as their Next Great Storyteller.
To watch the quests and follow along on this incredible journey, click here.