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Meet Lynsey Addario, National Geographic Explorer and 2022 Eliza Scidmore Award for Outstanding Storytelling Recipient

Addario received the 2022 Eliza Scidmore Award for Outstanding Storytelling for her work as a photojournalist covering conflict and humanitarian crises.

Lynsey Addario is considered one of the most influential photojournalists of our time. She is a regular contributor to prestigious media outlets including National Geographic and the New York Times, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and––today––the recipient of the 2022 National Geographic Society’s Eliza Scidmore Award for Outstanding Storytelling. 

This award––named for the writer and photographer Eliza Scidmore, the first woman elected to the Society’s board in 1892––recognizes an individual who uses immersive storytelling to make complex ideas, issues, and information relevant and accessible. 

Addario, who has covered nearly every major conflict and humanitarian crisis of the past two decades, has demonstrated time and time again her power to do exactly that: tell compelling stories that make distant global crises visible, relevant, and understandable to audiences anywhere in the world. 

“I don’t think an image has to be graphic to be powerful,” she says. “I think an image has to be subtle, but it has to tell a story. We see so many images every single day that I don’t think people pay attention anymore, and that drives me even more.”

Early in her career as a photojournalist, Addario began to focus on women’s stories. In 2000, her roommate suggested that she take her passion for women’s issues to Afghanistan and document the lives and hardships of women living under Taliban rule. 

This first trip eventually shaped her career as a war photographer. She returned to the broader region many times, documenting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the experiences of both American troops and civilian populations. To date, she has worked in more than 70 countries––including Darfur, Somalia, Syria, and Libya––and been kidnapped twice. Despite the demanding nature of her work—the dangers, and uncertainties—Addario pressed forward to tell the stories of the women and innocent people who are impacted and displaced by war. 

Today, Addario continues to demonstrate her passion and dedication to storytelling. During the pandemic, she received a grant from the Society’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists to share the story of four family-run funeral homes in a farming community in South West England, including the new and unconventional ways undertakers used to bury the dead with respect and dignity, and how families have had to find new ways to say goodbye to loved ones. Her story on this project was featured on National Geographic

Additionally, while adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines, she has pursued her National Geographic Society-funded project about women at the forefront of climate change––one of the defining conflicts of our time. 

Addario was honored as the 2022 Eliza Scidmore Award recipient during the annual National Geographic Society Storytellers Summit. Past recipients include Erika Larsen, David Quammen, and Lynn Johnson.

About National Geographic Society

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