Nat Geo Assignment: My Home

Nat Geo Assignment: My Home - Kristian Bertel
Indian family life is submitted to ‘My Home’ on National Geographic.



See the National Geographic photo assignments that Kristian Bertel has participated in – Read the story about his photographs here…

Kristian Bertel has contributed to the National Geographic Your Shot community with an assignment called ‘My Home’. Curated by Kristen McNicholas, an associate photo pditor at Nat Geo Your Shot and Christina Shorter, a community manager, they are looking for us to portray of our homes.

What do we think of when we see the word “home” and do we think of your childhood bedroom or a landmark that we visit often. Maybe we think of our family or a special landscape or perhaps it is the feeling we have while sitting on our couches, with our favorite blanket, soaking up the light pouring in from the window.

Home can mean many things
Home can mean the place where you were born or raised in India, but it can also be a different concept if you moved around a lot. For this assignment, they want to see what makes us feel most at home, no matter where we are in the world. Our captions are crucial because National Geographic wants to understand why we chose this photo to represent how we define home.

As Kristen is saying it: ”- I’m seeing loooooots of photos from archives and this is a little gentle reminder that you’re at ‘home’ everyday so no excuse to not make new pictures instead of dip back into your archive. If you like a photo from your archive, my challenge to you is to find a way to improve it and make a new photo with the improvements on the old photo and submit the new version. If you’re interpreting the assignment in a different way than your own home, your caption has to tell us how you’re conceptualizing the idea of ‘home’”, she says.

Indian family culture
Indian family culture is fascinating because it is very different from standard western family culture. Family culture in India follows a patriarchal structure wherein generations of a family often live under the same roof and a patriarch is a family structure where the oldest male runs the house and calls the shots, even if he is retired, no longer a bread winner and of older age.

Essentially, boys and girls are both taken care of by their parents from birth, and boys are often taken care of until they are well into their twenties. However, the system is different for girls, who can be married off before they reach their twenties.

Once married in India, a woman typically moves out of their parents home and moves into the home of her spouses family. In the case of boys, they grow up and are sent off to school, if their family can afford it and hopefully are able to obtain a good job later. Once out of school, the boy is considered a man, where he gets married and starts a family, but he and his family will live in the house with his parents.

Now, when this new family man’s father retires, the home’s deed is normally transferred to the son, and the son is now responsible for supporting his family and housing and feeding his father and mother and where The older generation takes care of the younger and then the younger generations repay the favor in turn.


”Sometimes a family has two or more sons and these two sons own separate properties. In their case, their parents reached retirement and they now spend half of their time with each of their son’s families. This way the burden of love is equally split and the entire family is better connected”


Difference between boys and girls
As briefly mentioned earlier, the big difference between boys and girls in India family culture is that when girls get married, they become part of their husband’s household and live with his family. They are traditionally not required to take on the burden of supporting their parents when they rach old age. Instead, they are part of a new home in which their husband is responsible for his own parents. In cases where an Indian girl marries an Indian man in India and then moves to her spouses home in the United States, she may rarely, if ever, see her family.

Another possible factor for family adhesion may come from the Indian people’s strong belief in Karma and the repeating cycle of life in general. Karma teaches people to treat others how they want to be treated because what goes around comes around. So, parents completely support their children and when the time comes, the children support their parents and the idea of Karma is a vital part of the Hindu religion.

Family, food, fun and socializing have always been a part of India family culture. India has become more similar to western countries, but has managed to keep many of its core traditions and values in place.


”- With my photograph from Aurangabad in India, you can see that for generations, India has a prevailing tradition of the joint family system. It is a system under which extended members of a family, parents, children, the children’s spouses and their offspring live together. Usually, the oldest male member is the head in the joint Indian family system and he mostly makes all important decisions and rules”, the photographer Kristian Bertel says.


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Assignments and Stories — National Geographic Your Shot »
Nat Geo Assignment: Take a Walk »
Your Shot Photo Community — National Geographic »
Kristian Bertel’s entire gallery on Your Shot »
Showcase of Kristian Bertel’s Your Shot »
Kristian Bertel’s website »


    Tags:   #india   #travel   #photos