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It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War Paperback – November 8, 2016
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“Beautifully written and vividly illustrated with her images — which are stunningly cinematic, often strange, always evocative — the book helps us understand not only what would lead a young woman to pursue such a dangerous and difficult profession, but why she is so good at it. Lens to her eye, Addario is an artist of empathy, a witness not to grand ideas about human sacrifice and suffering, but to human beings, simply being.”
“The opening scene of Lynsey Addario’s memoir sucker punches you like a cold hard fist. She illuminates the daily frustrations of working within the confines of what the host culture expects from a member of her sex and her constant fight for respect from her male journalist peers and American soldiers. Always she leads with her chin, whether she’s on the ground in hostile territory or discussing politics.”
Los Angeles Times:
“[A] richly illustrated memoir. [Addario] conveys well her unstated mission to stir the emotions of people like herself, born into relative security and prosperity, nudging them out of their comfort zones with visual evidence of horrors they might do something about. It is a diary of an empathetic young woman who makes understanding the wider world around her a professional calling.”
San Francisco Chronicle:
“Addario’s narrative about growing up as one of four daughters born to hairdressers in Los Angeles and working her way up to being one of the world’s most accomplished photojournalists, male or female, is riveting. [She] thoughtfully shows how exhilarating and demanding it is to cover the most difficult assignments in the world. Addario is a shining example of someone who has been able to “have it all,” but she has worked hard and absolutely suffered to get where she is. My hope is that she continues to live the life less traveled with her family, as I will be waiting for her next book with great anticipation.”
“[An] unflinching memoir. [Addario’s] book, woven through with images from her travels, offers insight into international events and the challenges faced by the journalists who capture them.”
“[Addario’s] ability to capture… vulnerability in her subjects, often in extreme circumstances, has propelled Addario to the top of her competitive field.”
Dallas Morning News:
“A rare gift: an intimate look into the personal and professional life of a war correspondent… a powerful read… This memoir packs a punch because of Addario’s personal risks. But some of the power in this book comes from the humanity she holds on to despite the horrors she witnesses. [It’s What I Do] should be read, processed and mulled over in its entirety….in [Addario’s] words and photos, readers will see that war isn’t simply a matter of black and white, of who’s right and who’s wrong. There are as many shades of gray as there are sides to every story.”
Kirkus (starred review):
“A remarkable journalistic achievement from a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellowship winner that crystalizes the last 10 years of global war and strife while candidly portraying the intimate life of a female photojournalist. Told with unflinching candor, the award-winning photographer brings an incredible sense of humanity to all the battlefields of her life. Especially affecting is the way in which Addario conveys the role of gender and how being a woman has impacted every aspect of her personal and professional lives. Whether dealing with ultrareligious zealots or overly demanding editors, being a woman with a camera has never been an easy task. A brutally real and unrelentingly raw memoir that is as inspiring as it is horrific.”
“A highly readable and thoroughly engaging memoir…. Addario’s memoir brilliantly succeeds not only as a personal and professional narrative but also as an illuminating homage to photojournalism’s role in documenting suffering and injustice, and its potential to influence public opinion and official policy.”
“Addario has written a page-turner of a memoir describing her war coverage and why and how she fell into—and stayed in—such a dangerous job. This ‘extraordinary profession’—though exhilarating and frightening, it ‘feels more like a commitment, a responsibility, a calling’—is what she does, and the many photographs scattered throughout this riveting book prove that she does it magnificently.”
Tim Weiner, author of Legacy of Ashes and Enemies:
“It’s What I Do is as brilliant as Addario’s pictures—and she’s the greatest photographer of our war-torn time. She’s been kidnapped, nearly killed, while capturing truth and beauty in the world’s worst places. She’s a miracle. So is this book.”
Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War:
“Lynsey Addario’s book is like her life: big, beautiful, and utterly singular. With the whole world as her backdrop, Addario embarks on an extraordinary adventure whose overriding effect is to remind of us what unites us all.”
Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of The Fall of Baghdad:
“A gifted chronicler of her life and times, Lynsey Addario stands at the forefront of her generation of photojournalists, young men and women who have come of age during the brutal years of endless war since 9/11. A uniquely driven and courageous woman, Addario is also possessed of great quantities of humor and humanity. It’s What I Do is the riveting, unforgettable account of an extraordinary life lived at the very edge.”
John Prendergast, founding director of the Enough Project:
“A life as a war photographer has few parallels in terms of risk and reward, fear and courage, pain and promise. Lynsey Addario has seen, experienced, and photographed things that most of us cannot imagine. The brain and heart behind her extraordinary photographic eye pulls us inexorably closer to the center of each story she pursues, no matter what the cost or danger.”
About the Author
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Also, the author is very self-centered. I understand that this is a personal account of events, just don't expect a nuanced view of events as described in the book. Below the part where I stopped reading:
From page 81:
“Ma’am, could you please not take my picture?” one of the Special Forces asked, making me feel like a paparazzo in Kandahar, something I didn’t think possible. “Ma’am . . . it is for our safety,” he explained as he clenched his weapon and threw out phrases in Pashto (the language of most people in Southern Afghanistan) to the Afghan men around him. I looked at my reflection in his oblong shades and wondered how he could be more worried about his safety than mine— I was an unarmed American woman in Kandahar. I continued to photograph until I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was my colleague, the writer, and his tone was abrasive. He wanted to know if I was finished yet, as if it bothered him I was upsetting the Special Forces. It was strange he would interrupt me in the middle of shooting in such a tense environment; it would never dawn on me to interrupt a writer in the middle of an interview in a similar scenario.
I wonder if Lynsey realises the sort of adrenaline rush that empowered a lot of her work. She endures harsh battlefield conditions without the sort of basic training all military personnel have to complete. That she can frame a shot, meet editorial demands and recycle to the front line is the sort of routine seen in dramatic mini-series on television screens. But this is no cinematic presentation. This is the story of a combat photojournalist.
I currently watch aspiring photographers come through the university programme I teach. It's fair to say that I haven't trained a single student in the past 15 years to wear a flak vest while carrying their DSLR so I doubt any of my students will ever carry Lynsey's camera gear. However, I expect several of my students will discover Lynsey's Life of Love on our library's bookshelf because her written memories are some of the most poignant I have read this century.
I'm happy the publisher complemented Lynsey's photography with full colour treatment inside the hard cover book. I wish she had been permitted to run her best shots alongside her storylines but understand how tedious the rights process can be for writers and photographers.
More than anything else, I appreciate hearing the perspective of Lynsey Addario resonate from this lovely work. She offers a gripping account of what it takes to remain at the top of your game in the realm of professional journalism. And in her case, it meant staying on the front line of conflicts scattered around the globe.
Addario speaks in remarkable detail, providing a clear view of the courage, tenacity and commitment that it takes to work at the height of her craft. I spent the better part of my early adulthood dreaming about a career in documentary photography. I know there is no way I could have done this, and the fact that she did is worthy of awe and great respect. Thank you, Lynsey Addario.
Top international reviews
An intimate account of the authors professional and social life throughout a developing and interesting career, always not far from danger. Worthwhile reading for any photographer, traveller and world affairs aficionado. I shall stick to street photography in friendly countries thank you! A well written book by an extraordinary and remarkable lady and using an American expression, she is certainly not a ‘regular’ person! Highly recommended material.
Lynsey Addrario's story is one you could not make up. A riveting read where you learn the ups and downs of being a photojournalist in a war zone. The desire to get the story, often at great risk to herself and her colleagues, comes through in her writing. She must be bonkers but her work speaks for itself.
You don't have to have an interest in photography to read this book (although as a photographer I can relate to having the urge to have your camera with you), as she barely mentions the technical side of photography. The book has plenty of her images within and you can understand why she is considered one of the best in her field.
Condensing this down to 2 words: Read it!
Do and how it affects little things in day to day life
When I searched amazon for a copy of this book I chose one which was described as being in okay/good condition. I received a copy which looked like it had never been opened! I was very pleased with it and its contents.