87 – Learning to Breath with Documentary Photography with Alison Wright

Learning to Breath with Documentary Photography with Alison Wright

Alison Wright has been traveling and working in 150 countries and doing documentary photography for 35+ years.  She is one of the single most impressive human beings that you may ever meet.  She has lived more in her life than most of us will if we lived to 100.  Though if not for the kindness of strangers, she would have lost her life in the middle of nowhere Laos, when she was involved in a horrific bus accident.

Of course, she lived to tell the tell her story.  And she lived to tell it to many people, since the publication of her memoir, Learning to Breath: One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival.  And she lived to create some of the more impactful photographs of some of the most desolate, destitute, staggeringly beautiful, hauntingly breathtaking places and peoples of the world.

And she’s now given us the pleasure of her presence on the podcast.  And what an episode it was.  We are not worthy, Alison…


Among the topics of discussion, we cover:

  • importance of finding hope when one is working in the devastated areas of the world
  • discussion on whether one’s work is enough for change or if the artist needs to be doing something more tangible with their work to affect that change
  • how to stay connected with both your subject and the audience for your work
  • how to decompress & process when coming back from long stretches of working away from home
  • how a meditation practice got Alison through challenging situations & environments, including her near-death experience in Laos


Related Sources




I would encourage all listeners to check out the amazing work that Alison is doing through her non-profit, Faces of Hope.





I would also highly recommend reading her stunning memoir, Learning to Breath: One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival.




Upcoming Live Webinar Event!

On Monday, September 3rd at 2pm EST US we will be hosting a live webinar event, led by Gordon!  He will be giving his Legal Dos & Donts for the Documentary Filmmaker, and it will be followed by a live Q&A where you, #doclifer, get to ask any of those legal questions you’ve long needed answered!




Our Film

If you are interested in watching TDL host, Chris G. Parkhurst’s personal documentary, you can check out Journey to Kathmandua film that follows the once-in-a-lifetime journey that goats make from their farmland lives of goats in Tibet to their sacrificial deaths in Kathmandu, during the Nepalese holiday, Dashain.

Purchase of the Deluxe Director’s & Goat’s Edition comes loaded with behind-the-scenes footage, director’s commentary, shorts, and deleted scenes. Regardless if you’re simply looking for more info on the making of J2K’or you’re a budding independent filmmaker (or just a fan of goats!), this is a must-have for anyone who enjoys gaining insight into what goes into the making of an independent documentary in a developing country.


Sponsors & Thank Yous


Free Music ArchiveSpecial Thank You to recording artist, Dlay who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artist’s music by going to Free Music Archive today!


Host and TDL Founder, Chris G Parkhurst

Chris is a documentary filmmaker and the founder and host of The Documentary Life, a platform which aims to inform and inspire documentary filmmakers from around the globe.

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