PhotographyYour Shot Photos of the Week

Your best photos of the week, December 7, 2018

Each week, our editors choose stunning photos submitted by members of Your Shot, National Geographic's photo community.

This time of the year yields gratitude, reflection and preparation for the coming new year full of aspirations and goals. Perhaps my favorite part is the compilation of best pictures, books and music from the year, too (shout out to NPR Top Ten albums all belonging women). Looking back on the past can be cathartic, comical or educational.

This particular week Your Shot Community Manager Christina Shorter and I talked a lot about looking back on the past through old family photo albums and how we started liking some of our favorite musical artists (Drake and Lady Gaga, respectively). I still remember the first time I heard “Bad Romance” on my school bus coming home and thinking to myself how much I loved the sound. Three stadium concerts and one front row later, I’m still a “Little Monster”.

We all can learn so much about ourselves by sifting through our memories. Past joy, sorrow and inspiration have paved the way for who we are now. As creatives, we are often our biggest critics but I’m a firm believer we must be better about recognizing our growth. We should never be the same as we were yesterday, last week or last year as storytellers or humans.

Don’t be afraid to proud of yourself. Don’t be afraid to pick up your camera and make that picture you’ve been inspired to take for ages. Most importantly, don’t let yourself be what holds you back from your own growth. Now, get out there and make the images you've been dreaming about and plan that vacation because why not?

Amazing what reflecting on listening to Lady Gaga for the first time can get you thinking about, eh?

Associate Photo Editor Kristen McNicholas looks at daily uploads from Your Shot, starting each day by sifting through thousands of photographs. This series is a selection of her favorites from the past week.