Fresh out of college and passionate about photography, Deborah Copaken Kogan moved to Paris in 1988 and began knocking on photo agency doors, begging to be given a photojournalism assignment. Within weeks she was on the back of a truck in Afghanistan, the only woman–and the only journalist–in a convoy of mujahideen, the rebel “freedom fighters” at the time. She had traveled there with a handsome but dangerously unpredictable Frenchman, and the interwoven stories of their relationship and the assignment set the pace for Shutterbabe‘s six chapters, each covering a different corner of the globe, each linked to a man in Kogan’s life at the time.

From Zimbabwe to Romania, from Russia to Haiti, Kogan takes her readers on a heartbreaking yet surprisingly hilarious journey through a mine-strewn decade, seamlessly blending her personal battles–sexism, battery, life-threating danger–with the historical ones–wars, revolution, unfathomable suffering–it was her job to record.


“A sharp and heartfelt eyewitness guide to international conflicts, obscure social movements, injustices and half-forgotten uprisings of the 1980s and early ‘90s…Shutterbabe has all the makings of a spectacular memoir. Kogan has led a fascinating life (a half-life, really—she’s only 34), lived it fully and with gusto, reflected on it with intelligence and humor, and written about it, sometimes humbly, always lucidly.”

—Chicago Tribune

“Flashy and exciting.”

The New York Times

Shutterbabe zooms in on passionate self-discovery.”

—USA Today

“Appealingly wry, copiously descriptive and often witty…Kogan brings her photographic gift—an eye for the well-chosen image—to her writing , and the effect can be unforgettable….Unlike so many memoirs, it is eloquent and well-observed, not only about the world: war, death, photojournalism and, of course, the worldwide battle between the sexes.”

—The Washington Post Book World

Shutterbabe is the rarest of all memoirs: a book by someone with the courage and passion to live an extraordinary life and the grace and wit to write meaningfully about it.”

—Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point

“Amid the current litter of true-life adventure books featuring dead men clambering up Everest, mushing across the Artic, trekking through Africa, and so on, Shutterbabe presents a lively counterpoint. Brassy and defiant, this is an adventure story from a broad’s perspective….Kogan has a voice. It’s yelping , opinionated, and endearingly peculiar…Few of us—men 
or women—have had adventures like these.”

—Entertainment Weekly

“A riveting account of one woman’s journey through the minefields of love
and photojournalism.”

—Robert Stevens, photo editor, Time magazine

“The focal point is not the pictures but the words, which Kogan can deploy as deftly as she wields a camera….Kogan is also an acute observer of the arcana of her chosen profession….And she can be mordantly funny….Kogan’s professional gifts are considerable.”

—The Women’s Review of Books

“Though her stories are extraordinary, and the spectrum of life and death that she’s witnessed is more than most of us will see in a lifetime, the real pulse of Kogan’s memoir is its cut-to-the-bone humanity….A great memoir of a kick-ass lady.”

—Bust magazine

“A wise and unforgettable book, written with courage and love and intelligence and humility and humor, by a remarkable woman who, through hard searching and a compassionate heart, has found all the right words with which to tell her extraordinary life.”

—John Burnham Schwartz, author of Reservation Road

“Startlingly fresh and honest.”

Talk magazine

“Kogan throws herself into each assignation with abandon, and she’s so frank, witty and brave that after a while you can’t help but cheer her on.”

The Arizona Republic

“What makes Shutterbabe such a great read is photgrapher Deborah Copaken Kogan’s willingness to write about herself with the same unflinching eye she presses against her Leica’s viewfinder. She is articulate, witty and randy—three excellent qualities in a storyteller. But what makes her autobiography so riveting and, for the most part, unpredictable is that she’s willing to be brutally honest about what lures her to the bloodiest front lines of photojournalism.”

The Denver Post

“This sexy and empowering autobiography serves up a tough and gritty heroine who has pleasantly subtle reflections on a G.I. Jane lifestyle.”


“Breezily hard-boiled and hip and winning…With great subtlety and sophistication, Kogan interweaves the vivid narratives of her photojournalistic escapades….There are writerly touches here that elevate this narrative above many other memoirs.”

New York magazine

“As Kogan recounts her years as a photojournalist and a sexual free spirit, we guarantee: 
you’ll want to be her.”


“Kogan has plenty of war stories…and a style likeable and honest enough to tell them well….She’s also eloquent about the way a photojournalist becomes possessed by the hunt for the perfect picture….Hers is the best description I have ever read of the strangely addictive pleasure of taking and making pictures.”

Brill’s Content

“Not since Margaret Bourke-White has a woman lived in such danger, documented it so fully. And immersed herself so fiercely in the entanglements of love. Here is a mesmerizing, honest, personal drama unfolding right on the edge of political violence.”

—Katie Roiphe, author of The Morning After