April 6, 2005: From the Editor
Photojournalist Anne Sherwood ’92 has long known the power of an image. At Princeton, she studied with Professor Emmet Gowin, who has mentored many of Princeton’s best photographers, and came to understand that words alone could rarely capture the nuances of a story. As a senior, Sherwood submitted a thesis that relied heavily on photographs to tell the story of teenage pregnancy in Trenton.
Sherwood describes herself as both a documentarian of human suffering and a chronicler of hope. After Princeton, she headed to Ohio University’s School of Visual Communications, where she learned to turn the policy challenges she had studied as an undergraduate into photo essays that told human stories and cried out for attention. Since then, she has traveled around the United States, to Africa, and to Latin America, taking photographs that have appeared in publications including the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic Adventure. She photographed the effects of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and of the civil war in Liberia. She has captured images of the impact of AIDS in rural Montana and in Zambia.
We are proud to present some of Sherwood’s work — powerful photographs taken during the aftermath of the December tsunami — in this issue of PAW.
When the tsunami struck, Sherwood decided to go to Sri Lanka because of the extent of the devastation, and because it was just emerging from two decades of civil war. She is one of numerous alumni to share their experiences of the tsunami, and we offer two more accounts (click here for the first account) (click here for the second account).
Sherwood, traveling with a colleague, was struck not just by the extent of the devastation, but also by what she found in its midst. “We were embraced by strangers who wanted nothing from us but our attention,” she wrote in an e-mail. “We were fed hot meals by refugees who had lost everything. We were given fresh coconuts kicked out of a tree by a boy and his father who had taken a break from picking through their destroyed house to share a drink with us.”
“After all the traveling and all the image-making, I realize that I have been taught the most in this world by the people who have the least,” she says. “I would trade a five-star hotel for a South African shack any day. Five-star hotels are great, but I’ve never learned anything in a nice hotel and I’ve learned a lot in a South African shack.”