Lynsey Addario has seen many things in her lifetime. She has traveled across the globe to document political upheavals, women’s education issues, juvenile justice, and the refugee crisis’. This talented young woman uses her camera lens to show people the struggles others are facing in the world. Her photographs have been seen by millions of people and won her countless awards for her haunting imagery.
Addario first came into the world on November 13, 1973, in Norwalk, Connecticut. She was born to Camille and Phillip Addario, both Italian-American hairdressers. Her early life was spent in Connecticut until she went away to the University of Wisconsin at Madison. While there, she studied international relations and graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree.
Though at this point in her life, Addario had no professional photography experience, she spent a year working for the Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina.
Reflecting back on the beginning days of her career, Addario said, “I wasn’t as adept with the camera [then]. I didn’t understand how to read light and to anticipate shots the way I do now. Now, I can prepare my cameras, get set up, make sure the right lens is on, I can grab it very quickly and put my camera away.”
When she returned to the States, Addario established a home base in New York and was a regular contributor to the Associated Press. Later, she moved to New Delhi for eight months to cover the political state of India and mid-eastern countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2001, she was living in Mexico City, providing international feature photos for the New York Times.
However, after September 11, she returned to the Middle East to cover the war and women’s rights issues. Her photos of the ongoing conflict featured in dozens of magazines, including National Geographic. Eventually, she began covering the war in Darfur. She told the stories of women who had been sexually assaulted, who were struggling with pregnancy, and others who were being beaten by their husbands.
In 2014, Addario began documenting the Syrian refugee crisis. One particularly poignant photograph was a candid moment of joy at a wedding.
In reference to this photo, she said, “I try to show the unexpected moments and to show that life does go on in a lot of these places where we assume it doesn’t.”
Addario’s photographs are haunting, beautiful, and mesmerizing. They capture humans at some of the lowest points in their life, but she also highlights their resiliency through it.
Her work has earned her many achievements including, 1999 Award of Excellence, 2002 Infinity Award for Young Photographer of the Year, as well as a spot in a World Press Master Class. Addario has published two books highlighting her works over the years.
For this incredibly brave Italian-American, photojournalism is a way of capturing just a moment in someone’s life that tells the story of all the struggles and successes they’ve endured.
“[Photojournalism] is about reading human beings.”