Laura Madden's Blog

Stories of change

About me

with 2 comments

I had a successful career in reality TV and documentary films. The second film I worked on — a doc about Benjamin Franklin for PBS — won an Emmy. I oversaw edits on reality TV shows like Border Wars, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Family Plots, The First 48, DogTown, and a number of other series. In April of 2006, during some time between freelance gigs, I went to New Orleans to volunteer with the reconstruction effort. I expected it to be a breeze- after all, it had been several months since Katrina hit. Boy, did this Jersey girl’s eyes get opened.

NOLA had all the ingredients of a Carl Hiaasen novel: survivors trying to rebuild their city, college students volunteering on their spring break alongside retirees (including a team of sexagenarian chainsaw operators), high school dropouts and illegal immigrants searching for steady work, and politicians all talking a good game. Houses and cars were still rotting, months after being washed into the middle of the street. Meanwhile, Louisiana state instituted an evacuation plan identical to the one in place the day Katrina whipped the gulf’s shores. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Bill Cosby all gave speeches for then-mayor Ray Nagin’s re-election campaign.

After all that, I couldn’t go back to an office to search for footage to cover a cobbled-together sound bite, or dispute the merits of K-Fed and Britney’s parenting skills. Drawing on my foreign language skills, I packed my camera and laptop in my backpack and hit the road, shooting for NGOs in Mozambique, India and China. I knew I was on the right track when a former boss — someone I respect and admire — donated a large sum to one of the NGOs I shot for, explicitly stating her donation was because she’d seen my photos.

Now I’m ready to make a living telling the stories of everyday people who change the world one person at a time. They’re my greatest inspiration.

Here are some links to the blogs I follow:

And here’s a really fun photographic series by a flickr friend, Nasha.


Written by Laura Madden

May 9, 2010 at 9:58 pm

2 Responses

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  1. very cool Laura! how do I subscribe?


    May 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    • I’ll be sending out instructions upon my next post. Thanks for clicking, Julia!

      Laura Madden

      May 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm

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