To be in the right place at the right moment brought the 25 years old photographer Annie Griffiths from the local Worthington Daily Globe in her home state, Minnesota, to travel around the world for National Geographic. Since that hailstorm hitting the region and her answering the phone and being asked by one of the most prestigious magazines in the world to take some pictures of the damages provoked, time has passed. Griffiths, always concerned with environmental issues, one year ago founded Ripple Effect Images, a photojournalists’ association documenting programmes that help women of emerging nations dealing with the effects of climate change. She is also part of the National Geographic Speakers Bureau and still works for the magazine. Griffiths is the author of “A camera, two kids and a camel” (National Geographic Society, 2008).
When you started working at National Geographic you were one of the first women and the youngest in the editorial team. Did you experience any difference in treatment because of that?
No, I think it was a benefit to be a woman because the director of photography was really trying to broaden his team. He had too many American white guys and really wanted to reach out and have a more diverse group of photographers. I really felt supported.
How old were you when you started bringing your children with you?
I was 36 when my first child was born and 39 when the second one arrived and even during my pregnancy they were always with me when I was travelling. Now they are 20 and 17 years old.
Did your former husband use to come along?
He would visit us when we were travelling and once in a while we had assignments together since he is a writer at National Geographic, but most of the times he wasn’t with us.
In an interview of yours I heard you saying that “whenever I am in a culture that’s divided by gender, to me being a woman is a huge advantage”. Why?
Women’s issues are much less covered than men’s issues and when there is a gender separation there are a lot more men photographers covering male stuff but only few women photographers. Especially when I started working in the Middle East, there were very few, so to me it was an advantage to be a woman, because I could cover those things and be in a world that was much less covered than the men’s world.