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Matinee: 'Using Her Camera for Good: Annie Griffiths' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

28 July 2018

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 160th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Using Her Camera for Good: Annie Griffiths.

Earlier this month we published a story about Adobe's collaboration with Ripple Effects Images on Photography for Good, an initiative to publicize the work photographers might do with non-profits who do good.

Griffiths, who was not only one of the first women among National Geographic photographers but also the youngest ("by a good bit," she adds), had never been east of Ohio before getting assignments all over the world for the publication.

Language, you might think, would have been an unsurmountable problem.

But it wasn't. She made herself non-threatening, spending a lot of time on her knees and sitting on the floor, eventually becoming invisible to her subjects as they went about their daily routine. That, she says right at the start of this video, is what she loves most about her job.

But it isn't an easy job. Seeing a refugee camp in Kenya with 90,000 people living in tents on barren ground, she questioned her presence there. It's a heartfelt reflection, an honest one, that asks if there's a difference between helping and exploiting.

One mother and her failing infant in that camp particularly affected her. She took their portrait and wondered what would become of them. The future held no promise.

But a while later while visiting an aid organization, she saw her photo on the wall. The organizers filled in the blanks. They had been able to rescue the woman and her children and she was now working at a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Lift a finger and the darkest parts of the world spin toward the sunlight. Just ask Annie Griffiths.


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