Lynsey Addario had a burning passion for seeking the truth that lies behind what we think and what we know. She witnessed an uprising as it unfolded and watched people fight to the death for their freedom. She committed her life to being a conflict photographer in the Middle East where she covered war, human rights, and the treatment of women.
A photographer who is an inspiration of hers, Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” This held true for Addario because photographing in Libya meant being in the line of fire.
“Photography has shaped the way I look at the world, it has taught me to look beyond myself and capture the world outside,” Addario said. “It’s also taught me to cherish the life I return to when I put the camera down.”
Addario feels privileged to capture things others don’t. She is fearless and resilient. To chase dreams as far as she did, there was no denying this was her calling and her purpose.
“When I am doing my work, I am alive and I am me.” Addario said, “It’s what I do, and I am sure there are other versions of happiness, but this one is mine.”
In many cases she was the voice for people, she told their stories and had access to their most intimate moments. She was addicted to the thrill; the thrill of being on the front line, the thrill of learning something new every day, and especially the thrill of creating art and contributing it to the world’s database of knowledge.
What makes her story so compelling is how she ran toward what most would run from. She didn’t let the fear of never returning home stand in her way. After being kidnapped twice and seriously injured in a car accident she continued to move onward with her journey.
Addario longed to educate people using the rawest form of emotion possible. She felt an urge to influence them to make a change in the world, photograph by photograph.
As her journey in photography continued, she faced a time when her homeland was under attack but she wasn’t there to witness or capture it. 9/11 reminded Addario of why she was doing what she was doing.
Addario felt the calling to tell others’ stories for what they really were even while being in danger. She wanted to deliver the real image of the Pakistan women and photograph times like when Baghdad fell to the U.S. soldiers.
She learned from 9/11 that these Pakistan women believed the attacks were justified after years of American support for Israel and discriminatory policies against the Palestinians.
She got to see inside a world that many don’t know and many fear. She became accustom to witnessing death. She became accustomed to the hatred of the U.S. but she always remained focused. Addario felt that she would be able to help Americans understand it from the other side.
“I became fascinated by the notion of dispelling stereotypes or misconceptions through photographs, of presenting the counterintuitive,” Addario wrote.
Lynsey shares her reasons why she does what she does with PBS. She answers a series of questions in an interview with Jeffrey Brown. Here is the link: