School of Visual Arts to honour photojournalist Lynsey Addario with award and retrospective

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There are not many places that the photographer Lynsey Addario has not been, and most people would be too terrified to attempt even a few blocks in her shoes.

For more than two decades, Addario has been resolutely documenting war zones, states in crisis and the refugee diaspora. This September, the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York will award the photojournalist with the 32nd annual Masters Series Award and a retrospective in Chelsea that looks at her career documenting humanitarian emergencies, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Sudan.

For the New York Times, Addario covered the frontlines of America’s war in Afghanistan, the Taliban before and after 9/11, and the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein. She eventually turned her eye towards Africa and spent six years in Darfur, where she was one of the few journalists able to able to work in the country after an arrest warrant was issued for the Sudanese President Omar al Bashir on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in the genocide. Recently she has been documenting Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Ukrainians clean up debris after a residential building was hit by Russian missiles in south Kyiv, Ukraine, February 2022. Lynsey Addario.

Throughout her career, Addario has been drawn to stories about women and girls, especially those who have experience violence and the use of rape as a weapon. She began a long-term project in 2009 on maternal mortality, documenting complications associated with women dying in childbirth in places including Sierra Leone, India, the Philippines and the US.

Addario has also published two books, a best-selling memoir titled It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (2015) and a sometimes-painful, always illuminating book of photography and ephemera, titled Of Love & War (2018).

“It is an incredible honour to be selected for the SVA Masters Series. At a time when truth is being disputed and journalism is under attack, the visibility SVA brings to the content and issues in my photographs helps highlight the importance of photography in fostering a better understanding of the world around us,” says Addario. “I hope the exhibition will give people a greater perspective beyond the borders of the US. I hope the images are educational and insightful and provide historical context to wars and humanitarian crises of the past two decades.”

There will be an artist talk hosted at the SVA theatre on 9 September between Addario and the director of photography for the New York Times, Kathy Ryan.

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