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

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About the Author and Book

Book Reviews

as a messenger of experiences,” she tells TIME. “In this case, they are my own experiences.”” button_text=”Cubie King and Olivier Laurent, TIME” button_link=”http://time.com/3699030/lynsey-addario-war-photographer/” background_color=”rgba(12,12,12,0.53)” header_font_size=”30px”]

Discussion Questions

Prelude

1. The first paragraph of the book includes a graphic depiction of violence from a morning air strike in Ajdabiya. Why do you think the author opens her memoir with this scene?

2. The reader learns that two days earlier Addario gave her hard drive of images to another photographer in case she didn’t survive. What does this detail tell you about the writer’s connection to her work?

3. Addario refers to herself as a “conflict photographer.” What does this term mean? Does it differ from combat or war photographer?

4. An article in the New York Times, “Photographing Conflict for the First Time,” discusses the growing competitiveness among conflict photographers to capture portfolio-boosting images. Addario tells the reader that she stepped aside “to let the other photographers have their turn” (p.1). Do you identify with the perspectives of the veteran photographers in the article or the less experienced ones? Why? Reference: Kamber, M. (2011, Oct. 25). Photographing conflict for the first time. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/young-in-libya/?_r=0

5. In this prelude the reader learns that although Addario is apprehensive about moving toward the front lines, she stifles telling her co-workers because, “I didn’t want to be the cowardly photographer or the terrified girl who prevented the men from doing their work” (p.70.) Do you relate to Addario’s concern? Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation?  What gender stereotypes have you experienced?

6. Tyler Hicks, Anthony Shadid, Stephen Farrell, and the author are captured by Qaddafi’s soldiers, and their driver, Mohammed, is killed. (It is not certain if he is killed by a sniper or by Qaddafi soldiers.) What happens before the four are released a few days later? What details of their capture are most memorable to you?

7. “That day in Libya I asked myself the questions that still haunt me: Why do you do this work? Why do you risk your life for a photograph?” (p. 12). How does Addario answer these questions for herself? Which of her answers do you find most compelling? Why?

Chapter 1

8. Addario switches from the tense drama of front-line war coverage described in her prelude to her beginning years in Westport, Connecticut. She opens this chapter with a story her sister likes to tell about her (p. 19). What does this story illustrate about her place in her family? Is there a family story that illustrates your place in your family? Can you tell it?

9. “The Addario house in Westport, Connecticut, was a kaleidoscope of transvestites and Village People look-alikes, a haven for people who weren’t accepted elsewhere” (p.19). How do you think this outsider aspect influenced Addario’s life and career?

10. Her father loved roses and had one hundred bushes of more than twenty-five species. “The names were long, an endless stream of vowels and consonants that I didn’t understand. But I was in awe of his knowledge of something so foreign, curious why this exhausting work brought him such mysterious joy” (p. 21). How is this detail about her father significant to Addario’s own life?

11. “My mother was infinitely resilient” (p. 23). What details does Addario use to show the reader this quality of her mother? Is this detail about her mother also significant to Addario’s own life? In what way?

12. In an interview in Time Magazine, Addario asks “Why was I so lucky to be born in Connecticut and to be offered this privileged life when so many people around the world are born into lives of extreme labor and hardship. Why are some people luckier than others?” What aspects of her life as described in this chapter do you consider privileged? What affect does this privilege have on her photography? Reference: King, C. & Laurent, O. (2015. Feb. 6). Meet the photographer who found how to balance a life of love and war. Time Magazine. Retrieved from http://time.com/3699030/lynsey-addario-war-photographer/

13. Her father gives her a camera (p.24). How does this serendipity end up changing Addario’s life?

14. She refers to her “mediocre clips” (p. 29) and her “groundless confidence” (p. 29). As her reader, do these comments make you like the author more or less? Why?

15. She becomes a better photographer with the help of her mentor, Bebeto, an AP staff photographer. What are some of the lessons she learns from him?

16. While she is in Cuba, she is appointed a “minder” (p. 34). What role do minders play? Does the United States have minders too?

17. For weeks, Addario goes to the Meatpacking District of New York for a story on transgender prostitutes. She hung around “trying to gain the women’s trust” (p. 35). Why is this part of her work so important?

18. Addario describes snapping photos with the “wondrous combination of subject, light, and composition.  And something else: the inexplicable magic that made the image dive right into your heart” (p.31)? What image have you seen that matches this description? Provide the details.

Chapter 2

19. She describes India as a “photographer’s ideal laboratory” (p.39). What does she mean?

20. In the spring of 2000, she leaves India to go to Afghanistan. What was she seeking? What obstacles does she encounter?

21. Even though she is aware of her “outsider’s perspective” (p.41), she is not afraid. “I believed that if my intentions were for a good cause, nothing bad would happen to me” (p. 41). If a friend of yours made this statement, how would you respond?

22. When Addario is short of cash, to whom does she turn? What is the response she receives? Why do you think the author chose to include this detail in her memoir?

23. To secure a visa to work under the Taliban, she sits each day in an office and drinks tea with the visa clerk, Mohammed. At the end of this encounter, Addario explains, “Mohammed was no longer a Talib to me. We were simply two people in our twenties, getting to know each other” (p. 47). What is your understanding of how this change occurred? Have you had similar experiences with getting to know people who are different from you? Explain.

24. “This was a country where a machine gun was more prevalent than a Nikon, and I knew that every picture I took would require an intricate process of negotiation” (p.49). How does she manage to shoot images of Afghans, particularly of Afghan women?

25. “The question of how many children I had would plague me throughout this trip—and for years to come” (p. 51). Why is this question so concerning to Addario?

26. At the end of this chapter, Addario confesses her naiveté in understanding women in Afghanistan. What has she learned about Afghan women? American women? And herself?

Chapter 3

27. “I learned early on that living a world away meant that I would have to work harder to stay close to the people I loved” (p. 61) How does this passage reflect the author’s relationship to her work and her family?

28. The subtitle of the book includes the word love, and much of this shorter chapter’s focus is on Addario’s love life. What kind of language does the author use to describe her relationship with Uxval? Is it honest and objective or does it seem unbelievable and false? Select examples of the language she uses to support your position.

29. What is the effect of Grandmother Nina’s cautionary tale about passion and romance on the author? What love advice, if any, have your grandparents given you? What stories about their lives do you recall most vividly?

Chapter 4

30. What does the author mean when she states “the geopolitics of my generation changed with September 11” (p. 69)?

31. What role did the visual and print media play in creating a “global memory,” one in which many people are able to say what they were doing on September 11, 2001? Do you have a picture in your mind’s eye of this day?

32. ABC News has compiled newspaper front pages from September 12, 2001. Compare the coverage of the event using the lens of these front pages. Do you gain a new perspective on history by revisiting these images now—or do they affirm your prior views? Explain. Reference: Newspaper front pages from September 12, 2001. (2011, 8 Sept.). ABC News. Retrieved from  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-05/september-11-newspaper-front-pages/2870784

33. Addario is given her first digital camera and her first big break: “being put on rotation, for the New York Times” (p. 71). What is this time like for her career? Does she attribute her success to luck or hard-work or a combination of both?

34. Photographers and reporters must coordinate with each other, but she often has to “intuit the story” (p. 71). Why?

35. Her gender is an advantage in getting into the women’s religious schools. “Before I shot a single image, I spoke with them at length about their political and religious beliefs” (p. 72). Why do you think she tells the reader this detail? What does she learn that is shocking during her interviews? How does this inform the way she portrays “who these women really were” (p. 72)?

36.  Addario tells the reader about the first time she “witnessed open hatred toward the United States” (p. 72). What do you know and what would you like to know about the reasons for anti-Americanism in the world?

37. As you look through the photographs included in her book, in what ways do you see her “dispelling stereotypes or misconceptions through photographs, of presenting the counterintuitive” (p.72)?

38. How do stereotypes of her affect her experience at the demonstration she attends? How does she fight back? What is the response of her male colleagues?

39. Addario receives instructions on how to walk in a burqas from her female Pakistani interpreter: “Hunch your shoulders. Focus your eyes on the ground. You American women are too self-confident. Humble. Be humble” (p. 75). Did you find yourself lingering on this passage or did you barely notice it? Discuss why some may have a different response to these lines in the book. How can people experience the same words but understand them in completely different ways?

40. The stakes are high when a working relationship doesn’t work while in a war zone. When you read Addario’s experience with the Times Magazine correspondent in Kandahar, what do you learn about her resourcefulness? Why do you think she does not name this person?

41. At the end of this chapter, she returns to Uxval on the Oaxacan coast. What is her state of mind?

Chapter 5

42. Why do you think Addario tells the reader that she was too “shy” (p. 87) to ask for anything other than simit to eat when she arrived in Istanbul in January 2003?

43. Are you surprised to learn that in 2003 editorial budgets were robust? Addario reports that “editors didn’t think twice about putting me on assignment for a month or two at a time, at a rate of $400 per day” (p.88). Yet the number of daily newspapers in the United States has declined over the last decades. Take a look at this graph from Statista and read this article about a print apocalypse in The Atlantic. What impact are these trends likely to have on future photojournalists?  On the state of news in the US? Reference: Number of daily newspapers in the United States from 1985 to 2014. (n.d.). Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/183408/number-of-us-daily-newspapers-since-1975/ ; Thompson, D. (2016, Nov. 3). The print apocalypse and how to survive it. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/11/the-print-apocalypse-and-how-to-survive-it/506429/

44. Elizabeth Rubin is an important colleague and friend to the author. What do you learn about her?

45. What does Addario think about Elizabeth Rubin’s femininity? How do you define femininity? How is Addario’s definition the same or different from yours?

46. As you read the author’s description of her first casualty in Iraq, what is the most surprising part to you? Why?

47. “We love Amreeekaa! We love George Bush!” (p. 97) is what Addario hears from people in Sulaymaniyah immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and for a while she “felt proud to be American” (p.98). Do you understand this statement? Why do you think the U.S. invaded Iraq? Find specific, credible support for your position.

48. Baghdad “became a laboratory for reckless romance” (p. 102). How does the author describe the social scene of her life, and also for the interpreters, Salim and Dashti?

49. Several months after Saddam is deposed, “nothing made sense” (p. 103). Why? What cultural issues exacerbate the interactions among American soldiers and Iraqis?

50. Is Addario’s reaction to Uxval’s new philandering surprising to you? Why? What is the cost of her life’s work to her romantic relationships?

51. An American soldier sneers at her when she tells him she is with the New York Times. “They thought we were all lefties opposed to the war” (p. 107). Why would he think this?

52. Where do you get your news? What are effective ways to fact-check what you read? How can you understand bias and also avoid being taken in by fake news? If you’re interested in learning more, check out the News Literacy Project. You might also want to check out these Ten Questions for News Detection.References:The news literacy project (2017). Retrieved from http://www.thenewsliteracyproject.org/about ; Ten questions for news detection. (2017). The News Literacy Project. Retrieved from http://www.thenewsliteracyproject.org/sites/default/files/GO-TenQuestionsForFakeNewsFINAL.pdf

53. When an American soldier is wounded in an IED attack, Addario, who had cleared access with the commanding officer, begins to shoot photos. She’s is censored by the soldiers, and not allowed to take more photos. What do you think about this occurrence?

54. Listen to this brief interview of Former Vice President Al Gore on NPR. He comments that “a free press is the immune system of representative democracy” but it is “not at all new for wealthy and powerful interests to hide the ball and ignore independent analyses of relevant facts.” Do you think Addario agrees with Gore’s assessment? What part of her memoir supports or refutes this point of view? Do you agree with him? Explain. Reference: Shapiro, A.  & Cornish, A. (Hosts). (2017, Mar 14). In the age of fake news and alternative facts, Al Gore remains optimistic. NPR All Things Considered. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2017/03/14/520162882/in-the-age-of-fake-news-and-alternative-facts-al-gore-remains-optimistic

55. At the end of this chapter, Addario wants to call her mother. What is her state of mind?

Chapter 6

56. A common thread throughout Addario’s memoir is the difficulty of working in a male-dominated field. In this chapter she states, “the reality was that most male war correspondents had wives or faithful girlfriends waiting at home for months on end, while most female war correspondents and photographers remained hopelessly single, stringing along love affairs in the field and home, ever in search of someone who wasn’t threatened by our commitment to our work or put off by the relentless travel schedule” (p. 113). Do you believe it is difficult for women to work in male-dominated fields? How does Addario’s word choice contribute to your response as a reader to this passage?

57. The American Society of News Editors (ASNE), a nonprofit organization publishes a newsroom diversity survey each year. Examine the results from the latest survey. Do any of these statistics surprise you? What do you think is the effect on newsrooms and journalism nationwide given these statistics? Reference: Newsroom Diversity Survey (2016). American Society of News Editors. Retrieved from http://asne.org/newsroom_census 

58. Addario states that she became accustom to bombs going off. “My judgment of danger became increasingly skewed. I lost a sense of fear” (p. 114). Does this make sense to you? What is her motivation at this point to put herself in danger?

59. How are familial and tribal ties relevant to the cultures Addario photographs? Give examples.

60. How does Addario’s olive complexion and almond-shaped eyes afford her privilege in many of the countries from which she reports?

61. Studies show individuals are more likely to associate with others who look similar to them. Read this brief overview of four of these studies.  What are the societal implications of gravitating toward others who look similar to ourselves? How does this aspect help or harm Addario’s work? Reference: “Your friends probably look like you.” (2011, Nov. 15) The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/15/friends-look-alike_n_959145.html

62. How does Addario’s kidnapping in the village of Garma change her? Why do you think Matthew returns to the United States and she heads off to Thailand by herself?

63. The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) is a professional society that promotes visual journalism as a vital public service. Read its Code of Ethics. Does Addario’s work adhere to this code? Give examples. Do you believe this Code is complete? Are there changes or improvements you would suggest? In what ways is visual journalism a public service? ReferenceEthics (2017). The National Press Photographers Association. Retrieved from https://www.nppa.org/ethics

Chapter 7

64. In 2004, Addario leaves the War on Terror in Iraq to see what else she could do in Darfur, a region in western Sudan. How does she describe the conflict in this region?

65. “I moved around the desert camp self-consciously, a white, well-fed woman trudging through their misery” (p.139). Have you ever felt similarly self-conscious? Explain.

66. “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” (p. 140). What do you think she means by objectified in this context?

67. Why is objectifying her subjects a concern for her? Are there additional examples of objectifying groups of people in different contexts, for example in lingerie or swimwear photography? Is it okay to objectify for commercial purposes but not in photo journalism? Defend your position.

68. In what way are women causalities of their birthplace?

69. For five years, for about a month at a time, Addario photographed the conflict in Sudan. “It was one of the few times I actually witnessed the correlation between persistent coverage and the response to that coverage by the international community” (p. 146). Look through the images on Addario’s website and also through the book. Choose one that you think is most profound. Explain your selection. Reference: Addario, L. (2016). lynsey adddario, photographer. Retrieved from http://www.lynseyaddario.com/

70. The author is conflicted about making money from images of war and suffering. She also worked to create “beautiful images out of conflict” (p. 146). Comment on the moral and ethical dilemmas of conflict photographers.

71. The camera gives the photographer access to intimate moments in peoples’ lives, such as death. The photographer is also recording somebody else’s history. Are there times when a photographer should put down her camera and help those she is photographing? (Consider Kevin Carter’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1993 photograph of a young, starving girl stalked by a vulture in Sudan in your response.) Reference: Carter, K. (1993) Starving child and vulture. Time 100 Photos. Retrieved from http://100photos.time.com/photos/kevin-carter-starving-child-vulture#photograph

72. Grant funds give Addario a way to document gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She contributed to a roving exhibition, “Congo/Women” in addition to photographers Marcus Bleasdale, Ron Haviv, and James Nachtwey. Familiarize yourself with this project by spending time reading and viewing the website. How can the arts raise awareness and educate the public about human rights issues? Reference: Congo/Women Portraits of War (2016). Art Works Projects for Human Rights. Retrieved from Art Works Projects for Human Rights

73. A debate over US federal arts spending is heating up. Drastic budget reductions or elimination of programs including The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are likely. Is federal arts funding wasteful or money well spent on expression and what makes us human? What are the combined budgets for these programs in relationship to overall federal spending? What should it be? Take a position on either keeping, scrapping, or changing the funding of federal arts spending. Use credible, relevant information for support.

Chapter 8

74. At thirty-one years old, how has Addario changed from her earlier self?

75. What is her first impression of Paul? Was it love at first sight? Whom did her mother tell her to marry? What makes this relationship different from the others?

76. At a social occasion, Addario tells the reader she “started sinking into insecurities she didn’t even know existed” (p. 159). Why is she uncomfortable? How does this detail fit into your understanding of her life?

Chapter 9

77. Addario and her friend and colleague, Elizabeth Rubin, team up again to go for a longer embed with US troops in Afghanistan in the Korengal. What do you learn about US military operations in Afghanistan at this time from Addario’s account? Is anything about this experience surprising to you?

78. The commander of the Korengal Outpost (KOP) is Captain Dan Kearney. What challenges does he face? How does he lead?

79. Staff Sergeant Larry Rougle is one of Addario’s favorites. What is his story?

80. Addario writes “A part of me always quietly hoped for a brief gun battle; there were only so many pictures I could take of troops standing guard with their guns and talking with villagers” (p. 171). What competing interests does she face as a conflict photographer?

81. Rubin’s New York Times Magazine article, “Battle Company Is Out There,” includes additional Addario photos and information on Kearney and his troops. Does Rubin’s account jive with Addario’s? What are the similarities and differences? Reference: Rubin, E. (2008, Feb. 24). Battle Company is out there. The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/magazine/24afghanistan-t.html

82. Was there a problem with the counterinsurgency campaign? Why were there so many civilians and American troops dying?

83. How are the humanitarian issues during war and conflict highlighted in Addario’s photographs? Give examples.

84. Addario mentions Tim Hetherington and Balazs Gardi, two photojournalists who were also embedded. How does Addario feel about their situation compared to hers?

85. In 2010, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger (author of The Perfect Storm) premiered Restrepo, a documentary about Kearney’s platoon in the Korengal Valley. Tim Hetherington was killed the following year in a mortar attack in Libya. Junger went on to create a follow-up documentary, Korengal. (These documentaries are available on Netflix and can be streamed on other websites too.) Rubin, Addario, Hetherington and Junger invite audiences to contemplate what war truly is. How is war usually portrayed in movies and books? How do these documentaries and Addario’s book challenge the portrayal of war?

86. Do you know people who have experienced war? What are their stories?  

87. Addario speaks of needing to return to war and being concerned about missing the action. Why do you think some are relentless in their pursuit of war?

88. “Is there any way to get me out of here?” (p. 185), Addario asks Kearney. What tells her it is time to go? How does she perceive fear?

89. What is courage? Who is the most courageous person in the book? Why?

90. How does Addario react when one of Paul’s friends asks her, “Was it dangerous? Have you almost died?” (p. 187).

91. What is the controversy surrounding the photo of Khalid? How does this story inform you about the editing process? What is the goal of the US military public affairs office?

92. In Addario’s email to the editor-in-chief, she writes, “We owe it to the Afghans, the soldiers, everyone we spent time with and promised to show the TRUTH. Our readers deserve to see what’s happening over there” (p. 193). What are the challenges of disseminating information about ongoing wars?

93. Is embedding as a primary means of gathering information skewed towards viewing conflict from the military’s viewpoint? Is the “TRUTH” attainable?

Chapter 10

94. This chapter opens with Paul’s marriage proposal. Love and war are weaved throughout this memoir. How does this constant juxtaposition contribute to the major themes of this memoir?

95. She works with Dexter Filkins to cover the growing presence of the Taliban in Pakistan. What do you learn about the culture of the Taliban and the importance of tea?

96. Are there advantages and disadvantages for Addario as a female journalist? What are they?

97. What rhetorical strategies does the writer use to describe the anxiety she feels after the car accident?

98. Addario asks the paramedic to stop and retrieve something before continuing on to the hospital? What is it? What does this tell you about her state of mind?

99. Addario’s driver, Raza, dies in the accident. Whom does she blame for his death? Why?

100. After yet another near-death experience, her friends advise her to “stop running around war zones and get pregnant” (p. 210). What is her reaction? What are some of her concerns about taking time off to have a child? If you were her friend, what would you say to her?

101. Artistically, what’s the difference between shooting daily news stories versus ones that have long lead times between start and finish?

102. Addario is the recipient of numerous awards for her work. What are they? How do you think her work has influenced an understanding of humanitarian crises? What kind of artistic freedom does the MacArthur Fellowship provide?

Chapter 11

103. This chapter opens with Addario’s 2011 kidnapping in Libya. Her prelude also opens with this experience. How does she connect these parts of her memoir without being repetitive?

104. “For one of the first times in my life, I feared rape” (p. 222). What does Addario know about the Muslim world that makes her more fearful of rape at this point? (To hear more about her experience, listen to Terry Gross on this Fresh Air podcast interview her.) Reference: Gross, T. (2015, Feb. 14). Fresh air weekend: photojournalist Lynsey Addario and Michael Keaton. NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2015/02/14/386012326/fresh-air-weekend-photojournalist-lynsey-addario-and-michael-keaton

105. As you read this book, are there times that you are struck by man’s inhumanity to man? Explain.

106. How did each of the captives—Tyler Hicks, Anthony Shadid, Stephen Farrell, and Lynsey Addario—respond to their kidnapping? How do each of them view the risk taking aspect of being journalists?

107. Does Addario’s account of the kidnapping seem credible to you? Is she a reliable narrator throughout her memoir? How do you know?

108. How do you understand Addario’s sentence, “It was all I had left of my identity at that point” (p. 231)?

109. Addario mentions some incongruities to her capture and detainment. What are they?

110. The author realizes something about her parents soon after her release. “Regardless of how much pain they suffered as a result of my professional decisions, they always supported me. They had given me a boundless inner strength” (p. 240). Do you know people who have a boundless inner strength? How have their relationships fostered this strength?

Chapter 12

111. How do Addario’s colleagues at the Times react to her kidnapping? Is it what she expected?

112. Despite her kidnapping, her view of the journalism profession is unchanged: “I still believed in the power of its purpose” (p. 244). What is the power of its purpose?  What is the relationship of a free press to a democracy? What is the state of this relationship today?

113. On his show, Stephen Colbert asked Ted Koppel what the state of today’s journalism is. Here’s his response.

“We are so fragmented now. We have so much journalism. Everyone is in competition for a tiny little fragment of the audience. Whereas 30 or 40 years ago, we used to be in competition to try and give people the news that they need, now we’re in competition to give people the news that they want.”

What differences result from giving people the news they “need” versus giving them the news that they “want”? Reference: Colbert, S. (2015, Nov. 24). Ted Koppel weighs in on the state of journalism. [Video File]/ Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6KnZTRw6ZU

114. Here’s an example of an impactful sentence: “Perhaps it was because I realized how precarious life was and how arbitrary death was” (p. 245). Find another sentence you think is impactful and explain why.

115. What event brings Addario’s post-traumatic stress to the forefront?

116. A big decision is announced at the end of this chapter. What is it?

Chapter 13

117. What is the author’s reaction to finding out that she is pregnant?

118. Life and work are so intertwined for the author. How does she define work life balance? How is it similar or different to how you define work life balance?

119. Addairo has a lot of fear that her career will suffer because of motherhood. Is it true or false that women’s careers suffer because of motherhood? Find relevant, credible sources to support your argument.

120. Mohammed, “the main fixer in Mogadishu” (p. 254) is happy when he sees Addario. Why?

121. Susan Sontag writes, “For a long time some people believed that if the horror could be made vivid enough, most people would finally take in the outrageousness, the insanity of war” (p. 14).  What do you think Addario would say about Sontag’s statement? Do you agree? Reference: Sontag, S. (2003). Regarding the pain of others. New York. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

122. With a steady flow of twenty-four hour news programming blasting constant images of suffering from around the world, have you found it difficult at times to respond to the misery of others with dignity and compassion? What happens when shocking photos no longer shock?

123. In Banadir Hospital, Addario photographs people dying from severe malnutrition. “I always felt horrible photographing people in such states of misery, but I hoped my images in bringing greater awareness of the desperation, might also bring food and medical aid” (p.257).  Are images able to abate suffering? Support your answer.

Chapter 14

124. How does the author weave love and war into the conclusion of her memoir?

125. What is the Addario’s state of mind at the end of her book?

126. The last two sentences of her book are about her identity. “It is who I am. It’s what I do.” What lens does Addario use to define who she is? Do you have a lens in which you view your identity?

127. Would you characterize Addario’s memoir as a bildungsroman? How is she different in this closing chapter from the earlier parts of the book?

128. Did you gain any new perspectives on culture, gender, work, family, photography, war and love from reading this memoir?

129. Kirkus Book Reviews calls her book “a brutally real and unrelentingly raw memoir that is as inspiring as it is horrific.” Would you agree with this assessment? What do you find inspiring? Horrific? Reference: Kirkus Book Reviews (2015). [Review of the book It’s what I do, by L. Addario] Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/lynsey-addario/its-what-i-do/

130. If you had a chance to speak with the author, what would you ask her?

Questions written by Kimberly Del Bright (kdb9@psu.edu) the writer-in residence for The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and a member of the Penn State Reads curriculum committee.

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