It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War

She is a photojournalist with a passion for telling the stories of people in desperate circumstances in dangerous places. These are places to be visited currently only by humanitarian workers and professional journalists. Packing pretty much only her camera equipment, this award-winning woman dropped into war zones to cover the humanitarian plights of people there—citizens, soldiers, women and children. She transports her readers to virtually every hazardous place in the world–revolutions, famines and natural disasters. She travels to listen to the voices that tell her about their lives; and then she translates their stories into photos that are filled with beauty and light. Lynsey Addario wrote her memoir, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War primarily to answer the two questions that she repeatedly asked herself.
  1. Why must you leave family and friends all the time to travel to really dangerous places?
  2. With your dedication to your work and the absences it requires, will you ever find someone who will love you and want to share your life?

While answering these questions, Addario takes us on a journey so riveting that it is difficult to set the book down. Be sure to study the photographs which are filled with light, pathos, drama and beauty.

“Taking pictures became a way for me to travel with a purpose,” wrote Addario. “My quest was simple: to travel and photograph everything I could with what little I had.” Soon, however, her thinking morphed into passionate dedication. She said, “Something I had perceived until that moment as a simple means of capturing pretty scenes became something altogether different: It was a way to tell a story. It was the marriage of travel and foreign cultures and curiosity and photography. It was photojournalism. I knew then that I wanted to tell people’s stories through photos; to do justice to their humanity.”

Argentina, Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Darfur, Congo, India, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, China, Mexico, Hong Kong and Turkey are some of places that Lindsey Addario has photographed. And because of her gender, she had access to women in conservative countries that other journalists didn’t.

For example, Addario wrote that Afghan women surprised her. “It had been naïve of me to think that, given all the repression women in Afghanistan were facing – their inability to work or get an education – wearing a burqa would be high on their list of complaints. To them, the burqa was a superficial barrier, a physical means of cloaking the body, not the mind. They were educated and had held jobs in government ministries before the Taliban came into power. They were frustrated with the restrictions on their freedoms, which, among other things, prohibited them from working outside the home.

If you are curious to travel to countries that are too dangerous to go, this book is for you. Addario won a Pulitzer Prize and the MacArthur Award.

Leave a Reply