- What does visual peacemaking mean to you?
I think it’s about getting past mere headlines to try to get a truer sense of who we all are. Perhaps now, more than ever, is the need to get beyond the stereotypes and dramatic images and instead allow people to tell their own stories in a humanistic way.
- How does your camera get you to reflect on your world and your life?
Respecting and taking part in the life around you is an important component to getting the most out of your experience traveling. The more we try to create what is familiar to us, the less experiences we will have and after all, what is the point of traveling if you just want a repetition of what you have at home? It is all about adaptation and experiencing where you are.
- What do you like to photograph best?
I love to document cultures and people!
- Do you have an idea worth sharing?
It depends where I am going and what the climate and nature of the assignment is but one piece of advice I could give is the old adage…”less is more”. The more you bring, the more you must carry. The less you bring, the more lightly you tread and leave behind. It is much better to try to adapt and fit in and to contribute to local economies. For example, I buy local clothes and food (minus high altitude or specialized equipment). Very often I see people bringing bags and bags of powerbars and supplies and clothing which is completely unsuited to where they may be.
Ami Vitale has received recognition for her work from World Press Photo, the NPPA, International Photos of the Year, Photo District News and the South Asian Journalists Association presented her with the Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding print reporting on South Asia. Her stories have been awarded grants including the first-ever Inge Morath grant by Magnum Photos, The Canon female photojournalist award for her work in Kashmir and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. Vitale’s photographs have been published in major international magazines such as National Geographic, Adventure, Geo, Newsweek, Time, Smithsonian and Le Figaro among others. They have also been presented in international exhibitions including: Visa Pour L’Image, Perpignan, France; Reporters Sans Frontiers, Paris; the FotoArt Festival in Poland; the Open Society Institute and The United Nations in New York.
She began her career working as an editor for Associated Press in New York and Washington D.C. and eventually left in 1997 for the Czech Republic where she covered the Balkan conflict for two years. In 2001 she moved to Guinea Bissau in West Africa after she was awarded the Alexia Foundation grant and lived with a tribe of Fulanis in a remote village. When she returned, Vitale moved to India where she lived for over 6 years, producing memorable work throughout the region.
Her work about threatened environments and sustainability around the world is currently being exhibited in the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York..
Now based in Miami, Vitale is a contract photographer with National Geographic and is doing a fellowship with the Knight Center for International media at the University of Miami.