by Kenneth Barragan, CSSH '18
Prior to hearing that Lynsey Addario, the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and MacArthur Fellow, was coming to speak at our Scholars Seminar Series, I had honestly never heard about her. Nevertheless, a world-renowned change-maker was coming to our campus and I could not pass up the opportunity to meet her and understand why she does what she does. Her presentation was simple in nature. Projected on the screen was a chronological slideshow of photos; most taken by her, others of her and those in her life. But what made the experience incredibly moving were the stories that accompanied the photographs. Addario lives a life full of adventure, risk, and passion. Whether she’s covering conflict zones in the Middle East, documenting the injustices of women around the world, or raising her son, this woman is a force to be reckoned with.
This notion became more apparent when I had the opportunity to join other scholars and her in a more intimate environment over dinner. Although photojournalism was not in her radar during her undergraduate years, she found her passion later in life and stuck with it. Addario honed in on the fact that she knew that the career path she chose was an incredibly steep uphill battle and encouraged us to follow our dreams and persevere. I believe that this resonated profoundly to us as undergrads. It is so easy to go through life on a path toward a specific end goal, but if one forgets to enjoy the journey along the way, they are bound to overlook something important. I might not be endangering my life to document the Taliban or getting kidnapped during a civil war, but as long as I live my life with as much ambition as Lynsey Addario does, I’ll be more than satisfied.