Penn State Reads
It's What I Do, A Photographer's Life of Love and War, Lynsey Addario

Warning: This website includes graphic images that some readers may find disturbing.

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 21st 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.

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 replicate. Rather than stay home and lead a quiet, predictable life, she sets out across the world; Addario faces the chaos and makes a name for herself.

Lynsey Addario crouches holding a camera with a large lens, wearing sunglasses and her dark hair blowing in the wind.

About the Author

Addario began photographing professionally for the Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina 1996 without any previous photographic training or studies. She eventually began freelancing for the Associated Press in New York, where she worked for several years before moving abroad to New Delhi, India, to cover South Asia. In 2000, Addario first traveled to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to document life and oppression under the Taliban. She has since covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Darfur, and Congo. She photographs features and breaking news focused on humanitarian and human rights issues across the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.

In 2015, American Photo Magazine named Addario as one of the five most influential photographers over the past 25 years, saying she changed the way we saw the world’s conflicts. 

Addario’s recent bodies of work include ongoing reporting on Syrian refugees around the region for The New York Times, ISIS’ push into Iraq, the civil war in South Sudan, and African and Middle Eastern migrants arriving on Sicily’s shores for The Times. Addario was the official photographer for the Nobel Peace Center’s 10th peace prize exhibition in Oslo, Norway, photographing 2014 winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi.

News & Events

“The 2017 incoming Penn State class will join photographer, author, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynsey Addario in exploring her passion for photography and how it shaped her personal and professional life by reading “It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War,” the common book chosen for the 2017-18 Penn State Reads program.”

October 16 - 17, 2017

Author Event

Lynsey Addario

University Park

Penn State Reads text shown inside white bookmark image

Penn State Reads provides a shared experience among new students, encouraging intellectual engagement within and beyond the classroom, stimulating critical thinking, and fostering a deeper connection to Penn State’s mission and core values.

First-year students at the University Park campus will receive a complimentary copy of the book at New Student Orientation. They are asked to read the book before returning to campus in August. Throughout the year, they will have an opportunity to attend lectures, participate in class conversations, attend programming in residence halls, and engage with other first-year students in dialogue about the concepts introduced in the book.

All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to read the book and participate in the related planned events. Several Penn State campuses are also participating in a pilot of the program using the same text.

Barry Bram
Penn State Reads Committee Co- Chair
Senior Director, Student Engagement Program

814-863-0638 |

Yvonne Gaudelius
Penn State Reads Committee Co- Chair
Associate Vice President and Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

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