Annie Griffiths is a wife, mother, photographer and an activist. Priyanka Chharia discovers a woman who gracefully embraces all these dispositions and many more.
This story was originally published in August 2012.
The very first time I heard Annie Griffiths speak was almost two years ago. At the time, I was innocently unaware of her colossal standing. I reached the venue much before time and to my surprise, so had others. Clearly, she was much awaited. The room was full of people and still there was a long queue waiting outside. Here was an American woman, who had simply captured many Indian hearts with her stunning photographs. Yes, that woman was Annie Griffiths.
“Photography is a wonderful, yet terrible job. You tend to become your own worst boss.”
As a young girl, Annie dreamt of becoming a writer. She loved telling stories, and writing was the only way for her to voice the tales that lay dormant in her imagination. “Photography came as an accident, I wanted to be a writer all my life,” she says. Annie’s enthrallment with photography began after she fell in love with a camera during an assignment in college. By the time she was 25, Annie was one of the youngest women to work at the National Geographic magazine.
The World in her Camera
In a career spanning more than three decades, Annie has traversed continent after continent. Her photographs are a splendid assortment of global cultures from the most remote corners of the world. According to her, travelling is absolutely necessary for a photographer. “Unlike writers, photographers need to be where the story is. More than anything else, you end up making a handful of lifelong memories while you travel.” Till today, Annie is just as enthusiastic about making photos as she was thirty years ago. “I love the promise that an image holds. A compelling photograph can be the change that you wish to see in the world. Look around and ask yourself, Who needs pictures? Who needs help? With photography, the opportunities are endless…”
“The most inspirational part about photography is that you are always growing.”
“What I have learned from my kids is how delightful flexibility is!”
From being a mother of two to travelling the world, Annie conjures up images of a diligent heroine. “I think most people believe that a female photographer can only make pretty pink pictures. However,Ithink its an advantage to be a woman in this job. You are less threatening, more of an aberration and you get to be with the girls; who are always having a good time!” Her photos have made me laugh and cry out in disbelief. In an instant, I have travelled in time and space to otherwise unknown frontiers. At the end of the day, I come away with a strengthened belief in the cliché that dreams come true…. Yes, they do indeed!
“You reach a point in your career, when you want to give back.”