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For photographer Ami Vitale, the pivotal moment occurred in Guinea-Bissau.

It was the start of her career and she was visiting her sister in the Peace Corp. Vitale expected Africa to be filled with war, famine, plague or the other extreme, exotic safaris.

Living in West Africa for six months showed her not only "how the majority of people on the planet live their day-to-day life," but that people were not as hopeless as the newspapers portrayed. There was "a great deal of joy there."

It is a revelation that has guided Vitale through 80 countries and a 13-year career.

Her original desire to take "beautiful pictures" was transformed into a desire to do justice to people and their stories. As a photographer Vitale's focus has centered on issues surrounding women, poverty and health. The common denominator to all of her stories, she realized, is nature, specifically climate change. And it's women who bare the brunt of those changes.

But when a woman is offered the tools to improve her situation, she runs with the opportunity. She transforms communities. "It's a ripple effect," says Vitale.

It's the desire to see change that led Ami Vitale to join Ripple Effect Images, a photography organization started by Annie Griffiths that shares imagery with other changemakers.

"We are telling the stories that are so important and get lost in the headlines," says Vitale. "They are the key to connecting things and allowing people to get engaged and make a difference."

Client: Harbers Studios, Ripple Effect Images
Published: September 16, 2013
Individual Films

Annie Griffiths was one of the first women photojournalists hired by National Geographic. In her 35-year career, she has seen patterns in the lives of women and girls. Ripple Effect Images was born out of these observations. Watch it now.

Inspired by the photographs of the Farm Security Administration growing up, Lynn Johnson has spent nearly 35 years as a photojournalist working for LIFE, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated and various foundations. Watch it now.

Ripple Effect Images is a team of journalists dedicated to documenting poor women and girls around the world, highlighting the programs that are helping to empower them, especially as they deal with the effects of climate change. Watch it now.

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