RCL #6: It’s What I Do

There is no doubt about it that Lynsey Addario’s career as a war photographer involves extremely conflicting work. With traveling constantly simply to document the harsh realities that war bestows among much of humanity, confusion is bound to be one of the first emotions that many people in a situation similar to Addario’s experience.

On page 139 of It’s What I Do, Addario describes her internal conflict that comes along with photographing locals in war-torn areas of the Middle East: “I moved around the desert camp self-consciously, a white, well-fed woman, trudging through their misery. The people understood that I was an international journalist, but I was still trying to figure out how to take pictures of them without compromising their dignity. As much as it would be natural to compare this misery to that in Iraq, it was impossible. Iraq and Darfur were two different worlds, yet my role was always the same: Tread lightly, be respectful, get into the story as deeply as I could without making the subject feel uncomfortable or objectified” (Addario 139).

This particular incident describes Addario’s conflict with herself and the work she is conducting – she begins to question the humanitarian and ethical aspects of photography in foreign, impoverished countries. This content is relatable to Addario’s audience by helping readers understand that privilege most definitely exists, as Addario points out in the first sentence, and although it typically puts people in a safe zone, when outside of the Unites States in developing countries, privilege can put people in extremely uncomfortable situations on both sides. For me personally, I have been aware of my privilege for several years, which allows me to come and go and do as I please, which I am extremely grateful for. However, my fellow minority friends, for example, are not as lucky. A lack of privilege in certain situations can make any white person uncomfortable, which should occur more in my honest opinion.

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