This week I wisely listened to one of my sisters who persuaded me to mix it up and attend an incredible reception at the National Geographic Society for Annie Griffiths (http://www.anniegriffiths.com/about/), one of the first women photographers to work for the iconic global magazine National Geographic.
I wasn’t familiar with Annie Griffiths work but the event sounded like fun so I went with my sister and her husband. For me, the magic of photography is in its’ ability to spontaneously capture, in a split second, the unique look or movement of a person, freezing them forever and allowing you to be drawn back to that moment at any time as though it were yesterday.
A picture can be comforting, painful and healing all at once because the camera has caught a truth at that particular moment. This is why we frame them, tuck them into our wallets and hold them close to our hearts.
And we soon found out that Annie Griffiths is a master at catching those kind of candid moments. She is an energetic, fearless woman who traveled around the globe with her two children when they were younger to explore the world and record its human and natural beauty in a breathtaking manner.
From cattle branding out west in the United States to poor communities in developing Third World countries, Griffiths’ eye for finding unique images in unexpected places reminded me in a most explicit way that there is so much more to living life than the usual routine of my little world, that we as a global community may be strangers but we are connected by our desires for the same things: healthy children, clean water, clean air, education and most of all, respect and dignity.
During the small reception held in the original National Geographic Society building which also features priceless original murals painted in 1927 by famed illustrator N.C. Wyeth, Annie Griffiths graciously let us live in her world for too short a time, sharing her exquisite photographs shot in hundreds of countries, discussing the exotic cultures she has experienced over the span of her three decade career and retelling the compelling stories behind the pictures.
Her stories are about meeting life where it takes you, trying new things and embracing rich opportunities. To being continuously curious about what is happening in our world and to its people and most importantly, to giving back. She is passionate about helping women and children living in poverty and has formed a non-profit group called Ripple Effect Images, a collective of photojournalists who are documenting the programs that help poor women deal with the effects of climate change.
Seeing the world through Annie Griffiths eyes is exhilarating and it challenges me, and maybe you too, to break out and participate in changing our human community.