Monday, January 2, 2012

Women Photographers In The Middle East

As you know, I'm a photographer and I love the Middle East. It's a tough place to love according to other people's standards, but the moment I was there I was hooked. So when I found this interview with woman photographer Lynsey Addario (visit her blog here) I was inspired, encouraged and challenged. Here are some of my favorite quotes.
If a woman wants to be a war photographer, she should. It’s important. Women offer a different perspective. We have access to women on a different level than men have, just as male photographers have a different relationship with the men they’re covering.
Lynsey was often give access to places where her male colleges were not permitted because of the conservative culture.
In the Muslim world, most of my male colleagues can’t enter private homes. They can’t hang out with very conservative Muslim families. I have always been able to. It’s not easy to get the right to photograph in a house, but at least I have one foot in the door. I’ve always found it a great advantage, being a woman.

{ Lynsey is the female in the center of this picture }
 She goes on to say that photography is about relationships, and I couldn't agree more.
People think photography is about photographing. To me, it’s about relationships. And it’s about doing your homework and making people comfortable enough where they open their lives to you. People underestimate me because I’m always laughing and joking. That helps. They let their guard down.
About keeping a relationship at home while abroad:
There are many reasons. It takes a great toll on your personal life. It’s lonely. It’s physically demanding. You have to carry a lot of equipment. It’s emotionally taxing. You see and document things that take a lot to process, both mentally and physically. Most women, at some point, decide they want to put their personal lives first.
Most of my life, I had no personal life. I tried having relationships. But they were never successful because I was never home. That’s my fault. That was my decision. I would leave for an assignment and come back four months later. You can’t ask someone to be in a relationship with you if you’re not home. I think it’s a very good reason that a lot of women decide that they don’t want to do this.

About being detained in Libya and the affect on family at  home:
The hardest part about what happened to us in Libya, our having been detained, is what we put our loved ones through — more than what happened to us. The whole time we were detained, I think our main concern was that our families didn’t know we were alive. And we knew we would be hurting them. At times, it’s a very selfish profession. And it’s hard to put people through what we put them through. 

Click here to read the rest of the interview.
Click to read about her captivity.
Originally found at NatGeo.


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