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Barefoot in Libya: Photographer Lynsey Addario recalls kidnapping

The cover of Lynsey Addario's memoir. Courtesy Penguin Press.
The cover of Lynsey Addario's memoir. Courtesy Penguin Press.
Penguin Press

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Photojournalist Lynsey Addario's new memoir, "It's What I Do," details her experiences as a veteran war photographer covering violence in Afghanistan and Libya.

On March 16, 2011, the early days of the uprising in Libya, Addario and three other  journalists were taken hostage in Libya. They spent six days in captivity. 

She said the rebels she photographed were clearly outgunned. "We were with fighters who were not trained fighters; they were doctors, engineers, teachers. People who were literally learning how to use weapons."

Before she was captured, Addario gave her fellow war photographer Brian Denton a hard drive with all of her photos of Libya in case she was kidnapped or killed. Two weeks after Addario's release, Denton returned to the scene of her capture to search for the body of Addario's driver. The body was never found, but Denton did find her shoe. Addario talked about seeing the photo for the first time:

"I know what I went through, but there's no evidence of what I went through because a lot of what we experienced was psychological trauma. Yes, we were beaten up. I was punched in the face. We were tied up. I was groped. All of those things...but sometimes I think maybe I was imagining things, or maybe it was worse than it was, or maybe it was better than it was. So when I received that picture of my little shoe with the shoe laces that had been pulled out to tie me up, it was almost like evidence."

To corroborate her kidnapping experiences, Addario had to dig deep: she cross-referenced her journals from Libya with her colleagues and even hired a fact checker to interview her.