NPR Photographer, Interpreter Killed In Afghanistan
David Gilkey, an NPR journalist who chronicled pain and beauty in war and conflict, was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday along with NPR's Afghan interpreter Zabihulla Tamanna.
David and Zabihulla were on assignment for the network traveling with an Afghan army unit, which came under attack killing David and Zabihullah.
David was considered one of the best photojournalists in the world — honored with a raft of awards including a George Polk in 2010, an Emmy in 2007 and dozens of distinctions from the White House News Photographers Association.
It is fair to say that David witnessed some of humanity's most challenging moments: He covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He covered the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He covered the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa. He covered the devastating earthquake in Haiti, famine in Somalia and the Ebola epidemic in Liberia.
His images were haunting — amid the rubble, he found beauty; amid war, he found humanity.
Back in 2010, after he covered the earthquake in Haiti, he talked about his craft. The camera, he said, made things easier.
"It's not like you put the camera to your face and therefore it makes what you're seeing OK, but certainly you can put yourself in a zone," David said. "It's hard, but you can't get caught up in it and become part of it. You still need to maintain your state of mind that you are helping tell this story."
His craft, he said, was about more than journalism.
"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?"
In an email to staff, Michael Oreskes, NPR's vice president for news said David died pursuing that commitment.
"As a man and as a photojournalist, David brought out the humanity of all those around him," Michael said. "He let us see the world and each other through his eyes."