“[David Gilkey‘s] photographs and videos were haunting in their beauty and poignant in their nuance. Every person and every scene was captured with care, moving beyond the news to the personal struggle and perseverance of the people who lived it,” writes Ariel Zambelich about her fallen colleague, who was killed Sunday in Afghanistan, along with interpreter and journalist Zabihullah Tamanna.
Gilkey, Tamanna and their driver, a soldier with the Afghan National Army, were killed when their armored Humvee came under fire in an attack by the Taliban. Gilkey was the second American journalist and first American civilian journalist killed in Afghanistan since 1992. In that span of time, 27 journalists and one media worker have been killed in Afghanistan as a result of their work, according to CPJ, with the majority of those deaths occurring since 2001.
“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,” said NPR svp of news and editorial director Michael Oreskes in a statement.
“Gilkey found a dark humor in everything, so long hours traveling through Afghanistan meant laughing. Constantly,” said Renee Montagne on Morning Edition. “Constantly,” agreed co-host David Greene. “I mean, that giggle is going to stay with me forever.”
“He always said, it was about not the amazing places and things, it was about the people who made it all worthwhile,” added Greene.
Other colleagues came back to Gilkey’s own words as well, pointing to a 2010 interview about his work when he was on assignment in Haiti, covering the aftermath of the earthquake there. “It’s not just reporting, it’s not just taking pictures,” Gilkey said in the interview, “it’s–do those products, do the visuals, do the stories, do they change somebody’s mind enough to take action?”
Watch the full interview below.