Alison Wright, NPPA member, acclaimed documentary photographer, dies at 60
Alison Wright, a documentary photographer, author and public speaker who was known and loved throughout the world, died on March 23, 2022, in the Azores. She had been scuba diving, a great passion of hers, when she suffered a cardiac episode at sea that left her in a coma. Six days later, she passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family, who flew to be by her side at the hospital.
An NPPA member since 2006, Alison talked with Jim Colton in a 2014 “Photo Journal” interview about her near-death experience in Laos in 2000, in which the bus she was riding was hit by a logging truck. Her experiences of recovery led to her memoir, “Learning to Breathe: One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival” with a foreword written by the Dalai Lama. The book chronicles her survival, years of rehabilitation and her ongoing determination to recover and continue traveling the world as a visual storyteller. Her story of survival was featured in Outside magazine, National Geographic Adventure, and Yoga Journal, and is documented in her memoir “Learning to Breathe: One Woman's Journey of Spirit and Survival.”
Alison traveled the globe documenting endangered cultures, people and issues concerning the human condition. She twice received a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award from the Society of American Travel Writers and in 1993 she became a Dorothea Lange Fellow in Documentary Photography at the University of California, Berkeley. Alison founded Faces of Hope to support non-profit organizations she had worked with globally that support women and children’s rights.
Her other books include “Human Tribe”, “Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit”, “The Spirit of Tibet: Portrait of a Culture in Exile”, “The Dalai Lama: A Simple Monk”, “Faces of Hope: Children of a Changing World”, and National Geographic Traveler books on China, London and Great Britain. Her newest book “Women at Work: Grit and Grace”, is due to be published posthumously in June.
Alison studied photojournalism as an undergraduate at Syracuse University and received a master's degree in visual anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley.
Alison was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Sonia Wright. She is survived by her brother Andrew Wright, sister-in-law Beth Wright, nieces Erin, Hannah and Claire (Hollis) with husband Corey and her newborn great-nephew Oliver.
The date for a memorial service has not yet been announced by the family.