Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Matinee: Annie Griffiths Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

12 December 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 115th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Help a Woman. Help the Planet: Annie Griffiths at TEDxSanJoaquin.

In this 20-minute presentation at TEDxSan Joaquin three years ago, National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths tells some of the most charming stories you'll ever hear. We are biting our tongue to avoid spoiling any of them here.

She reminds us that a photographer, always at risk of seeming to be an intruder, should approach people as a member of the same species. She learned this from photographing wildlife, she reveals. Respect their world or they'll flee.

Griffiths traveled the world for National Geographic, visiting over 100 countries. And she brought her two children along. Five years in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, you name it. Never staying in motels or hotels.

She found herself less at risk for "life events" in those places than any urban area in the U.S., she says.

When women and girls earn income, she tells us, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families.

But, as she explains at the beginning of this clip, the people she was photographing -- real people, she points out -- knew nothing at all about National Geographic. They welcomed her to their homes as a guest.

As a woman, she entered a world the males of National Geographic never got to see. And it inspired her to found Ripple Effects Images whose mission is "is to harness the power of visual storytelling to help scale solutions for women and girls globally."

The economics of this approach are impressive.

When women and girls earn income, she tells us, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families. They use it to educate their kids, for the care of their parents, to help their girlfriends, to improve their community. Men, on the other hand, reinvest just 30 to 40 percent.

Uneducated women in one village that had no electricity, for example, were taught by an aid society how to make solar lamps. Their final exam was to repair a broken lamp. Which they took home with them along with parts for 50 more lamps.

The girls of the village worked in the salt mines all day, which meant they didn't attend school. But with the lamps, they were able to attend night school. This particular program has sent 70,000 kids to night school.

One thing leads to another.

Twenty minutes might sound like a big investment at this time of year but you'll wish Griffiths would charm you with more stories and more images of the resourceful, generous, smart people she has photographed. She is an intelligent woman who shares a lot of information about how the world works that is not often appreciated.

After you listen to her first story about taking a Polaroid of three women in the Namibian desert, you'll probably get this peculiar feeling of having learned something. It's a rewarding feeling, an addictive experience.

Griffiths lets a breath of fresh air sweep into your room in this season of hope and sharing.

BackBack to Photo Corners