In so many countries, Western journalists are viewed simply as dollar signs. We're ransom objects.

Lynsey Addario

Lynsey Addario

Profession: Journalist
Nationality: American

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Photography of any living being, according to Taliban rule, was illegal. So when I went to Afghanistan, immediately I was worried about photographing people. But it was what I wanted: to show what life was like under the Taliban, specifically for women.

I didn't know a single female photographer who covered conflict who even had a boyfriend, much less a husband or a baby.

I always knew my death would be a possible consequence of the work I do. But for me it was a price I was willing to pay because this is what I believed in.

If I'm doing a story on how a single mother copes in a refugee camp, I'll go to her tent; I'll follow her when she's working, see what her daily life is like, and try to pack that into one composition, with nice light, in one frame.

Journalists dedicate their lives to covering war - they make many personal sacrifices, and it's not something that's gender-based. In a place like Libya where there's heavy fighting, it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman.

I try not to get caught up in how our society is so inundated with images, and stay very focused on the work that I'm doing.

For a journalist who covers the Muslim world, we have responsibilities to be familiar with that culture and to know how to respond to that.

I think it's important to have perspective and to look at what you don't necessarily want to see.

Every story takes its toll on me and leaves an impression on me.

Becoming a mother hasn't necessarily changed how I shoot, but it certainly has made me more sensitive, and it certainly makes it much harder for me to photograph dying children.

The truth is, the difference between a studio photographer and a photojournalist is the same as the difference between a political cartoonist and an abstract painter; the only thing the two have in common is the blank page. The jobs entail different talents and different desires.

I wanted to continue doing my work, but I had to figure out how. And so what I have basically come up with is that I still go to Afghanistan and Iraq and South Sudan and many of these places that are rife with war, but I don't go directly to the front line.

I think there were times when I first started out, when I was covering Iraq - I was basically living there in 2003 and 2004 - that car bombs and attacks became so the norm that it was weird for me to leave and realize that no one else actually cared about what was going on there.

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.