By Lynsey Addario
272 pages, hardcover, $40
Published by Penguin Press
Of Love & War is a hard read and an easy read. Some of the moments captured by photojournalist Lynsey Addario make you want to look away, yet still you are compelled to look closer.
In the introduction to her book, Addario estimates that she has taken millions of photos. Most of the more than 200 chosen for inclusion in Of Love & War were delivered from war zones around the world. They bear witness to moments like Afghanistan under the Taliban and civil war in Libya, giving texture to war and all its aftershocks—rape, hunger, displacement... There is the blood of combat, as in her images of soldiers shot in the stomach. But there is also resilience and heart. A close-up of a letter found at a port where refugees disembarked is captioned with its translation: “‘Be well my love.’”
Tucked amongst the images are personal emails and letters written by Addario as she was chasing various stories; they are filled with her struggles, fears and hopes. There are also some short essays contributed by Addario’s colleagues. In one, journalist Aryn Baker recounts working with Addario and videographer Francesca Trianni on a yearlong story following refugee mothers raising newborns. “Several times I watched Lynsey’s hand reflexively grab her camera when a perfect shot appeared, only to set it back down again, photo untaken because she had not yet requested permission,” Baker writes. “But her patience paid off.”
With patience, with grit, with care, Addario has brought us evidence of love and war. —Esther Oh