NPR Photographer David Gilkey Killed in Afghanistan

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Gilkey Died Pursuing His Commitment To Tell Stories Through Pictures

Award-winning journalist David Gilkey was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday along with NPR’s Afghan interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna.

Gilkey and Zabihullad were travelling with an Afghan army unit when they came under attack. Shellfire hit their vehicle. Two other NPR staffers in another vehicle were unharmed.

Gilkey’s colleagues expressed grief upon hearing the sad news.

NPR’s vice-president Michael Oreskes, praised Gilkey for his dedication to his work, saying: “As a man and as a photojournalist, David brought out the humanity of all those around him.

He let us see the world and each other through his eyes.” – Michael Oreskes

The well-renowned photojournalist has been known for his courage taking relevant pictures in war zones and disaster hit-areas. He covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He covered the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in 2009.

In addition, the 50-year-old photojournalist provided incredible pictures in disaster-hit areas. In fact, he covered the earthquake in Haiti, conflicts in Rwanda, turmoil and famine in Somalia and the 2015 Ebola epidemic in Liberia.

Zabihullah Tamanna and David Gilkey in Afghanistan, June 2, 2016.
Zabihullah Tamanna and David Gilkey June 2, in Afghanistan. Photo: Monika/Evstatieva/NPR

His Passion in Photojournalism

Gilkey is considered one of the best photojournalists in the world. He was one of a kind for his extraordinary images of war and conflict. In fact, he won prestigious awards including a George Polk award in 2010, an Emmy in 2007. He was also awarded dozens of times, by the White House News Photographers Association.

Gilkey was passionate about his craft. He considered his job to be more than just taking pictures. His craft was about more than journalism.

After he covered the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, he spoke candidly about his craft.

He said, “It’s not just reporting. It’s not just taking pictures,” he said. “It’s do those visuals, do the stories, do they change somebody’s mind enough to take action?” [NPR]

Speaking for an NPR staff profile in 2013, Divid Gilkey shared why he had to be in the middle of everything. ” … you can do sort of after-action reporting and tell a story and reassemble a story that’s already happened, especially in a conflict zone. But as a photographer, you don’t get that choice. You have to be there, and in most cases you have to be in the middle of it… I want [listeners] to be just as amazed when they go online to look at the photographs as they were when they heard the story.”

David Gilkey, Former White House Photographer

David Gilkey was a former White House photographer. He was part of the NPR team that won a Polk award for a controversial probe into the US military’s failure to treat brain injuries in veterans.

Zabihullah Tamanna, Photojournalist and Translator

Writing about 38-year-old Zabihullah Tamanna, NPR wrote, “Zabihullah, who was known as Zabi, worked as a photojournalist for the Chinese news agency Xinhua … He wrote the big news – when a new Afghani president was sworn in – but also covered the daily attacks and drone strikes that killed militants and civilians.”

 

A soldier in Afghanistan.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.