Introducing Linda Cullen

August 01, 2006 by barbara

by barbara

Have we got great news for you! Beginning this month, someone new will hang out with us at the Clothes Line. Her name is Linda Cullen. Linda's on the right in the photo, in case you hadn't already figured that out. She's a world-class career photojournalist who is based in the Twin Cities area'"based being particularly apt in Linda's case. She's on the go, all the time. Even when she's here. Which isn't often. Her resume is dazzling. Her passport looks like an exotic places word find. And she has truer grit than John Wayne.

Since 2001, Linda has specialized in areas of war, conflict and natural disasters. Her work has taken her to Pakistan, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Sudan and Sub-Sahara Africa. She swooped into Afghanistan right after Osama bin Laden went missing. She has been embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq. She hurried to Pakistan and Thailand on the heels of the massive earthquake destruction there.

Linda says her motivation is to give visibility to those who are most affected by war and disasters. Through her photos, she puts a human face on what would otherwise remain statistics. She brings to our attention images of those who struggle to survive in some of the worst conditions on earth.

"It is only when you see people living in the most desperate conditions, in the midst of war or disaster, that you get to see their incredible strength of character," says Linda. "Families clinging to their dreams despite losing everything. Doctors working to save lives with next to nothing in the way of medical supplies. Children playing happily in the midst of chaos."

Linda is currently laying the groundwork for a photo project in Iran. She also hopes to be embedded with a combat unit in Iraq again.

Eighteen months ago, Linda co-founded an international non-profit. To date, Fifty Lanterns International has provided solar lanterns to widows and children in Afghanistan and to survivors of the earthquake in Pakistan and Kashmir. The organization's program in Afghanistan is ongoing. This year, they will expand their solar light program to widows and child-headed households in Rwanda.

"People ask me why I do what I do," Linda says. "The simple answer is, I love my work." The simple response is that it shows in everything she does.

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