My strength is looking for composition and light, and I think those things come in the quieter times of war or photographing people affected on the margins of war - civilians, refugees; that is where I really excel.

Lynsey Addario

Lynsey Addario

Profession: Journalist
Nationality: American

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Nothing seemed more important to me than to make the world aware of the senseless death and starvation in South Sudan. I wanted people to see through the eyes of the suffering so my photos might motivate the international community to act.

I think when I started going to war zones and started covering humanitarian issues, it became a calling because I realized I had a voice, and I can give people without a voice a voice... and now it is something that sits inside of me every day.

The fact is that trauma and risk taking hadn't become scarier over the years; it had become more normal.

I've worked for over 11 years in the Muslim world, and the one thing that I feel like I've learned - who's to say if it's true or not true, it's just my experience - is that men don't like to see really strong, aggressive women in that area of the world.

Where in the world would I rather be than on the front line of history?

It was nice to be in my own country, where I didn't need a translator or a driver. Where I didn't need to figure out cultural references or what hijab I needed to wear to cover my hair.

I remember the moment in which we were taken hostage in Libya, and we were asked to lie face down on the ground, and they started putting our arms behind our backs and started tying us up. And we were each begging for our lives because they were deciding whether to execute us, and they had guns to our heads.

I just immediately connect everything to the wars I have been covering overseas, and that's not the case back home. I wrongly assumed all Americans at home were as consumed with our troops in Afghanistan as I was abroad.

Don't expect things to happen fast. Be empathetic with the people you are photographing. Don't be concerned about money.

Most people, when they meet me, one of the first things they say is, 'Why would you voluntarily subject yourself to war? Why would you go into these places where you know there's a risk of getting killed?'

By the time the United States went to war with Afghanistan in the fall of 2001, I had made three trips to the country. I covered the fall of the Taliban in Kandahar and have been returning routinely for the past 14 years.

I come from a big family of hairdressers; they didn't read newspapers. I would say, 'I'm off to Afghanistan...' and they would say, 'Have fun!'

I've always wanted to do a photo book, but I've never done one because I've never felt ready; I just didn't feel my work was good enough.

I've seen so many photographers rush to do books the minute they start shooting, but one great thing about photography is that the images don't go away, so the more I sit with these images, the more I learn which ones have had the most impact.