Ms. Wright spoke in conjunction with the School’s Centennial Speaker Series, which brings authors, artists, businesses, and government leaders to campus. An exhibit consisting of images from her most recent collection, “Human Tribe,” will be on display in The Wilf Family Global Commons until November.
Ms. Wright regaled students with her pictures and stories. Throughout her travels to more than 150 countries, she said, she has contracted malaria and dysentery, been beaten and robbed, attacked by a dog, and kicked in the head by a horse. She described her most harrowing experience as a bus accident in 2000 in Laos -- the bus was sheared in two by an oncoming truck. She suffered a broken back, a badly crushed arm, and other internal injuries.
After the accident, she was taken to a Laotian village where locals stitched up her wounds with an upholstery needle and thread. Once she was stabilized, a British aid worker drove her seven hours to a hospital in Thailand. Amazingly, she survived, only to have her doctors declare that she would never walk again.
Two years later, after thirty surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, she proved them wrong. Not only did she walk again, but she returned to a very physical career shooting for magazines and non-profits such as the New York Times
, National Geographic
, Unicef and the Children’s Defense Fund. Her bestselling memoir, Learning to Breathe,
published in 2009 and chronicles her accident and recovery.
Hun students gave Ms. Wright high marks for her exciting stories and compelling images.
“She was interesting, and she overcame so much adversity,” said Max Adelman ’20. “The fact that she is fearless is pretty amazing.”
“I don’t feel a lot of fear,” admitted Ms. Wright, who was first encouraged to become a photojournalist by a teacher. “Maybe I don’t have that gene.”
Ms. Wright has won numerous awards photographing people all over the world from the Dalai Lama to remote villages in Afghanistan. Her newest book, Human Tribe, is a collection of 160 portraits.
She offered students one piece of advice, “Find your passion, be true to yourself, and that’s how you can be your most bold.”