Two summers ago, just before taking a cross-country road trip with my husband and two boys, I was given the book Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Knowing that I’d have plenty of time to read in the car, I threw the book in my bag. And for the next two weeks, as we made our way from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, I read and reread each chapter of the book. To say that I was stunned is an understatement. There really isn’t a word that adequately describes how I felt as I learned about the horrible oppression and dangers many girls face around the world. I was aware that women and girls faced inequality everywhere. I didn’t truly realize the extent of it until I read Half the Sky.

A short while later my friend, filmmaker Martha Adams, called me to read at the Women in the World Summit in New York City, an event hosted and created by Tina Brown. I had the privilege of reading from Martha’s documentary, 10x10 Girl Rising, which tells the stories of ten girls from around the world whose lives were forever changed by the opportunity of an education. I spent three extraordinary days at the summit listening to heroic women tell their stories. I was so inspired and moved by what I heard and by what I saw in these women that I knew I had to do something.

When I started thinking about how I could help in some small way, I realized that I should start with what I know…. and who I know. As an actress, I have had the great good fortune to work with and know many wonderfully talented actors, writers, directors and musicians over the years. What if I asked all of these gifted artists to donate art that they’ve created – or more specifically, photographs they’ve taken? I’ve always been interested in photography. My grandfather, who was a photographer in World War II, taught me how to develop film when I was 10 and ever since then, I’ve been enamored of the medium. I also knew that many of these artists/friends travel for their work, and that they have beautiful documentation of the different places they’ve seen. Their photographs allow us a glimpse of their experiences through their eyes.

As I reached out to friends about my idea, Shutter To Think began to take shape. So, here it is, a collection of photos taken by actors, writers, directors and musicians to raise money for girls’ education.

Shutter to Think is dedicated to girls around the world who want nothing more than to go to school, learn, and have the opportunity to improve their circumstances and be productive members of their communities and society at large. I’d like to thank the artists who have so generously donated their beautiful work to this cause, and I’d like to thank you for taking the time to visit Shutter to Think.

All girls around the world should be given access to an education. Not just because it will change the world but, more importantly, because all girls deserve it.

Cheers,

Tracy Middendorf

Tracy Middendorf just wrapped shooting in Brazil for three months on the film The Art of Losingimages. On stage, she was most recently seen at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Old Times and Yale Repertory Theatre in Battle of Black and Dogs. Other stage credits include: After the Fall (Ovation and Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actress), Summer and Smoke (Ovation and Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actress), Ah! Wilderness (Lincoln Center), The Big Knife (Williamstown Theater). Film credits include: The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Mission Impossible III, Just Add Water, Boy Wonder. Her television credits include Boardwalk Empire, Six Feet Under, 24, Alias, House M.D., Lost, The Mentalist