- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ann Curry, a 30-year veteran journalist and NBC News anchor, returns to dangerous corners of Africa so often that shes lost count.

And even though NBC sends her with a full crew and the latest in video satellite technology, she always takes along a simple still camera to create her favorite and most powerful images.

“It’s important for me to give back forgotten people their voice, but still photographs can express some things much more deeply,” said Ms. Curry. “I’ve found myself using it more and more, interweaving my stills into the finished piece as a kind of beat. They let viewers take in the story with greater thoughtfulness.”

When she froze these moments in Sudan’s battered Darfur, Ms. Curry’s principal videographer was working alongside her. They shared a quiet kind of ballet, anticipating each other, drawing inspiration from each others sense of time and composition.

“A little boy sits down suddenly beside his mother, his finger delicately touching her,” recalled Ms. Curry of one picture that is among the hardest to forget.

“She was explaining how she was carrying him in her womb when she was attacked by the Janjaweed, and she turned her back on purpose as they took her, just so they would not hurt her unborn child.

“At 2 years old, he was already a survivor of a crime against humanity. My heart swelled with the story of her suffering, and her courage, risking her own life to protect his.

“The boy’s finger was key. The light made a halo on his head. My brain was working. I was concentrating on the little boy’s eye, making sure the exposure was exactly what I wanted. As soon as the camera clicked, he stood up again.”

Just when traditional newspapers have morphed into multimedia engines, borrowing from the radio and television playbook, Ms. Curry has chosen one of the oldest ways of all to communicate visually - putting images on a wall.

She hopes that Washington policymakers will see the exhibit “Exposing Darfur” that opened last weekend at the nonprofit Washington School of Photography in Bethesda.

When she was first invited to show her work, Ms. Curry said “no,” worried that people might focus more on the messenger rather than the message.

She also insisted on sharing the gallery walls with Antoine Sanfuentes, the Emmy-winning deputy Washington bureau chief for the network, who also loves to use a still camera on assignment.

“My true love lies in stopping time, to tell the story with still moments,” Ms. Curry said.

Other exhibition photos and gallery hours are available at www.wsp-photo.com.

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