Shutterbabe by Deborah Copaken Kogan
Adventures in Love and War

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Synopsis

What if the protagonist in that age-old tale—boy goes to war, comes back a man—were a female? Shutterbabe, Deborah Copaken Kogan's remarkable debut, is just that: the story of a twenty-two-year-old girl from Potomac, Maryland, who goes off to photograph wars and comes back, four years and one too many adventures later, a woman.

In 1988, fresh out of Harvard, Kogan moved to Paris with a small backpack, a couple of cameras, the hubris of a superhero, and a strong thirst for danger. She wanted to see what a war would look like when seen from up close, to immerse herself in a world where the gun is God. Naïvely, she figured it would be easy to filter death through the prism of her wide-angle lens.
        
She was dead wrong.

Within weeks of arriving in Paris, after knocking on countless photo agency doors and begging to be sent where the action was, Kogan found herself on the back of a truck in Afghanistan, her tiny frame veiled from head to toe, the only woman — and the only journalis — in a convoy of rebel freedom fighters. Kogan had not actually planned on shooting the Afghan war alone. However, the beguiling French photographer she'd entrusted with both her itinerary and her heart turned out to be as dangerously unpredictable as, well, a war.

It is the saga of both her relationship with this French-man and her assignment in Afghanistan that fuels the first of Shutterbabe's six page-turning chapters, each covering a different corner of the globe and each ultimately linked to the man Kogan was involved with at the time. From Zim-babwe to Romania, from Russia to Haiti, Kogan takes her readers on a heartbreaking yet surprisingly hilarious journey through a mine-strewn decade, her personal battles against sexism, battery, and even rape blending seamlessly with the historical struggles of war, revolution, and unfathomable abuse it was her job to record.

In the end, what was once adventurous to the girl began to weigh heavily on the woman. Though her photographs were often splashed across the front pages of international newspapers and magazines, though she was finally accepted into photojournalism's macho fraternity, with each new assignment, with each new affair, Kogan began to feel there was something more she was after. Ultimately, what she discovered in herself was a person -- a woman — for whom life, not death, is the one true adventure to be cherished above all.
 

About Deborah Copaken Kogan

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Deborah Copaken Kogan spent the first decade of her career as an award-winning war photographer (Time, Newsweek, The New York Times) then as an Emmy award-winning TV News producer (ABC News and Dateline NBC.) Her previous books include Shutterbabe, the bestselling memoir of her years as a photojournalist, and Between Here and April, a novel. A former columnist for The Financial Times, her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker,The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Elle, O, More, and Slate, among many others. She lives in Harlem, NY, with her husband and three children.
 
Published March 10, 2001 by Villard. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Education & Reference, History, War, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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In four years as a photojournalist, Kogan charged into the world's most dangerous places and fell in love with men from all over the northern hemisphere. Now in her 30s, she has written a smart-mouthed professional and sexual memoir.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Shutterbabe: Adventures in Lo...

Entertainment Weekly

Kogan helped break the story on Romania's horrific .

Jan 26 2001 | Read Full Review of Shutterbabe: Adventures in Lo...

The Nation

A few months later, after delivering a lecture on the media-invented “mommy wars” at the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, a song pops up on my iPhone as I’m walking back to my hotel room: Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” “When you ain’t got nothing,” Dylan sings, “you got nothing to lose.” .

Apr 09 2013 | Read Full Review of Shutterbabe: Adventures in Lo...

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