David Gilkey dies in Afghanistan

Gilkey killed on assignment in Afghanistan (download)

It is with incredible sadness that the White House News Photographers Association must announce that a beloved colleague of ours, David Gilkey, was killed while on assignment for NPR. David and his translator, Zabihullah Tamanna, were traveling with an Afghan army unit near the town of Marjah, Afghanistan when their convoy came under fire during a Taliban ambush.

“David was one of the most talented photojournalists in our industry,” said Whitney Shefte, WHNPA President. “He served as the voice for the voiceless, constantly putting himself in danger so the world would know the strife and suffering of others. We have lost one of the very best.”

David began his photography career with the Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera, and has worked for NPR since 2007. In January 2008, he joined WHNPA and in 2011 was named the Still Photographer of the Year. Since joining the WHNPA, David has received 36 individual awards in the annual ‘Eyes of History’ contests. Among other honors, David was the recipient of the 2015 Edward R. Murrow Award for international breaking news coverage.

David’s work has taken him from documenting the conflict in Gaza to covering the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti. David also frequently embedded with the U.S. Army to detail operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a topic which he has covered repeatedly since 9/11.

“If David saw something wrong, he saw it as his duty to tell people about it. His natural talent allowed him to be a witness to things the rest of us could have never seen,” said WHNPA member Chip Somodevilla of Getty Images.

In addition to his work as a still photographer, David was also an excellent videojournalist. In 2007, David was the recipient of an Emmy for his video series covering Michigan Marines deployed to Iraq.

Still Contest Chair Nikki Kahn said of him, “Even in the war, David was a friend who was always willing to sit and listen. He had a level head and a golden heart.”

The White House News Photographers Association extends its heartfelt condolences to David’s family, both personal and professional. In our time of mourning, we let his words serve as a constant reminder of our mission: “the people are what made it worth all the effort.”

David Gilkey 2011 Award Video from WHNPA on Vimeo.

David Gilkey 2011 White House News Photographers Association POY Acceptance Speech from WHNPA on Vimeo.