That time I was published in National Geographic Magazine.

I was in the shower when I got the call.

On February 23rd, 2006, a senior editor from National Geographic Magazine left a voicemail informing me that my photo was going to be in the magazine.

A few days earlier, I had submitted the photo for their first “Your Shot” photography theme – ”Where I Live.” And I had been selected as a winner.

I would be published in the June 2006 issue of the magazine, as well as online.

Holy crap.

The photo she was talking about was from a walk along the road leading to my mom’s house. It was a black and white image I shot with a point-and-shoot digital camera. And it starred my brother’s cat, Oreo.


This photo of Oreo was published in the June 2006 issue of National Geographic Magazine for the first ever “Your Shot” theme of “Where I Live.” Photo by Marika Moffitt 2005


When I took that photo, I was just living my life. Walking in nature, taking photos of things I found beautiful. Spending time with animals I loved. Just being present in moments.

I was in a time of my life where I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with myself. Actually, I knew I wanted to be an artist – a photographer, specifically. But I didn’t believe it was something I could do for a living unless I went into journalism or worked for some big magazine. I had no idea what was possible.

This moment – my art being published – was the catalyst for me making the decision to go after what I loved. It took about a year, but I eventually made my way to photography school (The Rocky Mountain School of Photography) where I learned what it was going to take to do the thing I wanted – be a professional photographer.

And of course, it took even more years of overcoming doubts, fears, and other obstacles life likes to hand over, for me to get to where I am today.

But I’m here doing what I love – making art and telling stories of animals.


This moment – and it being acknowledged in this way – was really big not only for me, but my family too. Especially now that Oreo is gone, and we no longer own this place we called home. Even if this photo never made it into the magazine, it’s important to us. Because it’s a part of our story.


In my conversation with the senior editor from National Geographic Magazine, I learned that one of the editors at the magazine had recently lost their cat. A cat that looked a lot like Oreo.

I didn’t understand what that meant at first. In fact, for years I felt badly about it. As if my photo was only chosen because it reminded someone of their cat.

I didn’t yet understand that that is more powerful than any other reason to create art. I don’t create for awards or to be published or even just for money.

I create art to feel. And to move others to feel something too.

I took that photo because it was a moment that mattered to me. And I shared it with others because the story in the image moved me. I felt something beyond just seeing a cat in a photo.

I felt home.





Marika Moffitt is an artist and storyteller focused on expressing the spirit of dogs through photography. As the owner of SoulDog Creative in Seattle, Washington, Marika helps clients throughout the Pacific Northwest to honor their journeys with their Soul Dogs with one-of-a-kind artwork. Full of life and movement, Marika’s photographs touch deep within the heart of what it means to live the journey with the dogs we love.


To commission artwork of your dog, cat, or horse, book a consultation with Marika to begin your journey.


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