It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War

It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War

War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir It’s What I Do is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others. It’s her work, but it’s much more than that: it’s her singular calling.

Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a young photographer when September 11 changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she gets the call to return and cover the American invasion. She makes a decision she would often find herself making—not to stay home, not to lead a quiet or predictable life, but to set out across the world, face the chaos of crisis, and make a name for herself.

Addario finds a way to travel with a purpose. She photographs the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.

Addario takes bravery for granted but she is not fearless. She uses her fear and it creates empathy; it is that feeling, that empathy, that is essential to her work. We see this clearly on display as she interviews rape victims in the Congo, or photographs a fallen soldier with whom she had been embedded in Iraq, or documents the tragic lives of starving Somali children. Lynsey takes us there and we begin to understand how getting to the hard truth trumps fear.

As a woman photojournalist determined to be taken as seriously as her male peers, Addario fights her way into a boys’ club of a profession. Rather than choose between her personal life and her career, Addario learns to strike a necessary balance. In the man who will become her husband, she finds at last a real love to complement her work, not take away from it, and as a new mother, she gains an all the more intensely personal understanding of the fragility of life.

Watching uprisings unfold and people fight to the death for their freedom, Addario understands she is documenting not only news but also the fate of society. It’s What I Do is more than just a snapshot of life on the front lines; it is witness to the human cost of war.

Title:It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781594205378
Format Type:

    It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    “Sahafi! Media!! He yelled to the soldiers. He opened the car door to get out, and Quadaffi’s soldiers swarmed around him. “Sahafi!” In one fluid movement the doors flew open and Tyler, S...

  • Adina

    I took time with this wonderful, strong autobiography, reading a few pages/day trying to fully immerse myself in her story and her pictures. I am usually a fast reader and I tend to forget a lot from ...

  • Diane

    I've always admired journalists who cover wars. After reading It's What I Do, I have a better appreciation for just how difficult it is for writers and photographers to report in areas of conflict.Lyn...

  • Jennifer

    How many times have I mindlessly flipped through the glossy images of a magazine in a waiting room? Too many times...but never with the realization I have now. I will never look at a photograph of con...

  • Malia

    I so rarely read nonfiction, but this book has me wondering whether I might really be missing out! Addario tells her own story, but in a broader sense that of journalists everywhere, the struggles the...

  • Trish

    Lynsey Addario has been a war photographer for at least the past two decades. She has won numerous awards and recognition, including the Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Prize, for her work. In this mem...

  • Jess

    Wow. Gotta say, even as a photography enthusiast who at one point wanted to be a photojournalist... I have a whole new respect for the field after reading this memoir. I wasn't familiar with Lynsey Ad...

  • Emma Scott

    Absolutely fascinating with enough detail to put you there but not so much as to feel overwhelmed. Deeply humanistic touch to the prose only added to its awesomeness, as did the feminine perspective w...

  • Steve

    Addario has truly earned and, in that sense, enjoyed a remarkable career, lived a life filled with impressive achievements, and taken extraordinary risks, some of which unsurprisingly led to harrowing...

  • Linda Hart

    Wow! This is a journalist's absolutely fascinating memoir. I have great admiration and respect for Lynsey Addario, the author, and am stunned by her unbelievable experiences and frank reporting. I lov...