Smarty Pants Podcast

Through a Lens Darkly

A photographer on how we represent conflict

By Stephanie Bastek | November 16, 2018
Soldiers with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army sit by their truck, waiting for it to be repaired, as a sandstorm approaches in Darfur, Sudan, August 2004. (Lynsey Addario)

You’ve probably seen the photographs that Lynsey Addario has taken, even if you don’t necessarily know her name. For more than 20 years, she’s covered life in conflict zones around the world, from Afghanistan under the Taliban and the U.S. invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, to the genocide in Darfur and maternal death in the Philippines—too much suffering, in too many places, to name, or even imagine. But in her images, Addario captures the small joys, too, of the ordinary experiences lived between the cracks of war: children playing, young couples getting married, births, deaths, cooking, going to the movies, even sleeping. In the contrast between these ordinary moments and their extraordinary, often brutal circumstances, Addario manages the impossible, and holds together all the fragments of human life she’s witnessed in her two decades of conflict photography.



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