Florita Botts worked for over twenty-five years for the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. This book recounts her personal and professional journey through ten different projects she was involved in between the 1960s and the 1980s. Its aim, to describe – and partly denounce – the inner workings of one of the largest agencies devoted to international development in the world during the most intense phases of decolonization. For most of her successful career, Florita Botts was one of the few women in the field. She often operated in strenuous conditions, carrying loads of equipment across the most remote regions of the world. She used photography partly to document FAO’s projects, but mostly as an educational tool to help extension agents improve their teaching techniques. She strove to always find the best way to explain complex topics to untrained people and encourage their participation in the learning process. Florita Botts might well embody the category of the “concerned photographer,” a term used to describe those professionals whose work aims to educate and change the world, not just document it.
Born in 1927 to a Russian baroness and an American businessman, Florita Botts was raised between Mexico, Arizona and California, and received an education in literature and music. Before becoming a photographer for FAO, she was a copy editor in New York City, a social worker in Mexico, and an expert in community development in Italy.
Cover illustration: Florita Botts, Tunisia, 1976.