Saratoga resident and brain injury survivor recognized for photography

Saratoga resident and brain injury survivor recognized for photography


SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Springs resident AnneMarie Todd has always viewed her camera as a security blanket.

After suffering four traumatic brain injuries, her affinity for photography was the one skill that remained perfectly intact.

More than 20 years after her diagnosis, Todd is the recipient of the Brain Injury Association of New York State’s Silent Angel Award for her photography. She will be recognized this week at the organization’s annual conference, which brings together professionals, caregivers, service providers and brain injury survivors for two days of interactive workshops and educational sessions in Saratoga Springs.

To Todd, the recognition means her volunteer work and advocacy haven’t gone unnoticed. “It’s acknowledging that they’re appreciating all the hard work that I’m putting into this, that they are paying attention to my contributions,” she said.

Todd was introduced to photography by her father and, throughout her life, could often be found attached to a camera. After graduating from college with a journalism degree, Todd spent years doing wedding photography and filming local television commercials.  

But when she moved back to Saratoga Springs from Baltimore, it was clear to her family that there was something wrong. “I was making really dumb decisions that my family would say weren’t stable,” Todd said about the time of her life when her “body fell apart not physically but cognitively and emotionally.”

She went from clinician to clinician with no answer, until she landed in Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady in February 2002. It was there that she was diagnosed with four traumatic brain injuries from four car accidents that occurred over 10 years when she was 19 to 30 years old. The diagnosis, she says, allowed her to “emerge from the darkness.”  

For the next several years, Todd struggled to relearn everyday tasks, figuring out what she could do without help and what she couldn’t. Through all of this, navigating life through a camera lens provided her with a sense of normalcy and solace.