Jansing and Co   |  October 10, 2013

New exhibit celebrates women photographers

The National Geographic Museum is debuting its new exhibit "Women of Vision," highlight 99 works from 11 women photographers. One of those photographers, Lynsey Addario, joins msnbc's Chris Jansing to talk about some of her most intriguing photos included in the exhibit.

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>>> one of the few museums still open in washington, d.c., is the national geographic museum. and today a new exhibit opens celebrating women in photography . it's called " women of vision." among the powerful images, veiled rebellion of a mother and daughter in afghanistan . and this one called baghdad after the storm. joining me now is national geographic photographer lindsay adario, the woman behind those two pictures. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> i know this exhibit goes through march. it profiles the work of 11 women , 99 different images. is there something about this exhibit, do you think, that tells us about the way women view the world?

>> i think what's unique about this exhibit is that we've just collected 11 women with many different genres of photography. one of the photographers has been working for " national geographic " for over two decades. another photographer is only 25 years old. and it's a real range of work from all around the world.

>> well, yours are amazing. and one that is one of my favorites of the entire exhibit is called "veiled rebellion." tell us about that.

>> so i was photographing -- i had been photographing in afghanistan for 13 years. so well over a decade. and in 2009 , i was asked to put together a collection of work of women in afghanistan . and it was really the culmination of so many years of working there. and one of the issues i wanted to cover was maternal mortality because afghanistan has one of the highest rates of women dying in childbirth in the world. and so i went and spent two weeks driving through these remote provinces of afghanistan . and on my way back through, i saw these two women standing on the side of the mountain. and i said, you know, that's strange because usually women have a man accompanying them. and so i thought there was something wrong. and so we stopped the car. and my translator and i ran up the side of the mountain, and we stopped the women . it turned out the woman on the right was in labor and her water had just broken. i said get in the car. we'll drive to you the hospital. they said we can't, we need the permission of my husband. and her husband's first wife had had died in childbirth. so it was especially important that they get to the hospital. and so i sent my translator back down the one road that wove through to find her husband. she found him, and the whole family piled in the car and we took them to the hospital. and she delivered safely.

>> extraordinary story. we also have bhutan 's enlightened experiment which i think is also just a riveting photograph. tell us a little bit it.

>> so bhutan was my first assignment for " national geographic ." it was in 2007 . and it was very interesting because for years i had been covering war. i was in afghanistan and iraq, and i had worked extensively in darfur and congo. and " national geographic " came to me and said we want you to photograph bhutan . and their experiment with democracy. and it's a country that instead of gross national product , they have gross national happiness . and for me, it was sort of like how on earth do i photograph happiness? i've been photographing war for so many years.

>> and in fact, you were held for six days captive in libya, right, in 2011 ?

>> i was.

>> war is no stranger to you.

>> no. i've been in several dangerous situations. but to photograph in a place like bhutan where nothing was happening and happiness was something very new to me, it was a very challenging assignment.

>> well, people can see the exhibit again through early march at the " national geographic " museum. lynsey, thank you so much for coming on the program.

>> thank you so much for having me.