What is the Meaning of Life? So goes the world’s most hackneyed, cliched question. Even so, Matador Life editors attempt to find an answer.

IT WAS NO SURPRISE when we did a search for the word “Life” on Flickr we found ourselves buried deep in a mass of imagery. As we sorted through the photos, trying to choose only 10-15 images to represent the range in the “meaning of life,” we began realizing our goal was impossible.

We found ourselves automatically dividing our thoughts into categories. Some of people. Some of lifestyle choices. Others of non-human life. Still life. Biodiversity of life. Life and death. On and on.

Finally, we had to make choices. In many ways, it felt random. Why the photo of a man wearing a LIFE t-shirt over the pro-life woman with tape over her mouth and the word “life” written on it? Why the statue outside of Columbia University over a still life painting with a pewter frog?

But that’s how it is, you cannot do and experience the entire world and all it has to offer. You can only do your best at the moment with the information you have. You can only exist, appreciate, rail against, love or hate what you have. The crux is in making a choice.

That, right there, is life.

-Leigh Shulman and Candice Walsh


Wall of Life in Chicago's Field Museum

An exhibit in Chicago's Field Museum, showing the diversity of life with the addition of a little girl. Variety is key. Photo by Brian Finifter.


Dalai Lama's Instructions for Life

The Dalai Lama's Instructions for Life, organized in an impressive tree-chart. Just about everything you'll ever need to know. Photo by pshutterbug.


Apartment Life

Apartment Life, even at home things get upside down. Find balance. Photo by shoothead.


She Lives in Nurnberg

She Lives in Nurnberg, a portrait of waiting. This leaning figure with laced fingers is in no rush. Photo by egomaniackid.


Life Force at Columbia University

Life Force, taken at Columbia University. Sometimes you just need to look at things from a different perspective. Photo by llahbocaj.


Thug For Life

Thug for Life, life-sized graffiti. Art comes in all forms, you just have to look for it. Photo by silverfox09.


Colour Your Life

Colour Your Life, crosswalk art. Why not add some colour? Photo by zigazou76.


Way of Life

Way of Life. Stay true to your beliefs, discard the ones that don't fit. Photo by Paraschiv Alexandru.


Soho Life

Soho Life, a Corner Shop Chorus Line. The caption says it all: “This lot had just been singing some kind of show tune, inside this small shop. I had my camera poised & as soon as they spotted me we had a bit of a showbiz moment, it's a Soho thing." Dare to be bold. Photo by fast eddie 42.


Fill Your Life With Croutons

Fill Your Life With Croutons, graffiti from Melbourne. Because why the hell not? Instincts matter. Photo by s2art.


Just Life

Life. I didn't choose this image for the final cut the first time around, but it had to be included. Sit. Close eyes. Smile. Enjoy. Repeat. Photo by rbackowski.