About

Alison Wright

The Founder of Faces of Hope

Alison Wright, a New York based documentary photographer, has spent a career capturing the universal human spirit through her photographs and writing. For many of her editorial and commercial projects, Alison travels to all regions of the globe photographing endangered cultures and people while covering issues concerning the human condition.  Click here for a list of her photo philanthropy clients and published books.

2013 National Geographic Traveler of the Year

Wright has been named a 2013 National Geographic Traveler of the year as someone who travels with a sense of passion and purpose.

Her photography is represented by the National Geographic Society and has been published in numerous magazines including National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Islands, Smithsonian Magazine, American Photo, Natural History, Time, Forbes, The Oprah Magazine and The New York Times. Wright is a recipient of the Dorothea Lange Award in Documentary Photography and a two-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award.

She has photographed/authored nine books including Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit, a photo book of global portraits, The Dalai Lama: A Simple Monk, based on her two-decade friendship with the Dalai Lama, The Spirit of Tibet: Portrait of a Culture in Exile, Faces of Hope: Children of a Changing World, documenting the lives of children in developing countries, and three books for National Geographic on London, Great Britain and China. For four year she covered the world as a photojournalist correspondent for the Travel Channel Photo Journeys website.

LearningBreathe950finalOn January 2, 2000 Alison’s life was nearly cut short during a horrific bus accident on a remote jungle road in Laos. Wright’s recent memoir, Learning to Breathe; One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival, chronicles this inspirational story of survival and years of rehabilitation, and her ongoing determination to recover and continue traveling the world as an intrepid photojournalist. The book details her ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro as well as her circumambulation of Mt. Kailash in Tibet.

Alison completed her degree in photojournalism at Syracuse University and her graduate master’s degree in visual anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, based on her years of living and working among the Himalayan cultures of Asia. She has since been leading National Geographic’s photo workshops and tours as a South East Asia expert.

Wright has photographed for a multitude of aid organizations including UNICEF, CARE, ILO, Save the Children, US AID, SEVA, Direct Relief International, The Children’s Defense Fund, the Global Fund for Children and many others around the world. Her long-term projects include spending four years in Nepal documenting the Convention for the Rights of the Child for UNICEF and a year photographing poverty in America for the Children’s Defense Fund. Her most recent humanitarian photos cover the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Sri Lanka, Hurricane Katrina and poverty in America.

As an eminent inspirational public speaker, Alison is affiliated with the National Geographic Speakers Bureau as well as Speaking Matters, and has presented her captivating stories and digital photo presentation, along with exhibiting her work, to numerous schools as well as the American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Newark Museum, Sony Corporation, The Explorers Club, Chautauqua Institution, American Society of Media Photographers, the George Eastman Kodak House, the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles and was a featured speaker in the National Geographic’s Live Masters of Photography Series.

Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit

In her new book, Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit, (Schiffer Publishing, 2013) Alison has created luminous and inspiring portraits of individuals from the plateau of Tibet to the continent of Africa, celebrating the visual tapestry of humanity in all its diversity and splendor. Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit, is a retrospective of Alison’s illustrious, ongoing career featuring a portfolio of striking portraits of more than 200 individuals. From Asia to Africa, to the Middle East and back, she captures the warmth, dignity, and grace which emanates from the eyes of monks and geishas, nomads and cowboys, tribal warriors and even inspirational icons like His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Together, these stunning portraits, accompanied by written testimonials and a moving foreword by the prominent writer Pico Iyer, explore the universal interconnectedness of the human spirit. It is what bonds us as mankind, a continued thread, as together we continue on this journey in the pilgrimage of life.