Remembering NPR Photojournalist David Gilkey David Gilkey, whose images documented both tragedy and hope, was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday along with NPR's Afghan interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna.
NPR logo Remembering NPR Photojournalist David Gilkey

Remembering NPR Photojournalist David Gilkey

A girl stands in the middle of a poppy field as Marines pass by on patrol. From the story "In Afghanistan, Flowers Call The Shots," 2011. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

A girl stands in the middle of a poppy field as Marines pass by on patrol. From the story "In Afghanistan, Flowers Call The Shots," 2011.

David Gilkey/NPR

On Sunday, we lost one of our own.

David Gilkey, an NPR photojournalist who documented both tragedy and hope, was killed in Afghanistan along with NPR's Afghan interpreter and fellow journalist Zabihullah Tamanna.

David joined NPR in 2007. His work added the visual to an organization devoted to sound. David's images presented the atrocities of war, the destruction of nature — and most importantly, their impact upon people. His 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.

David covered war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the earthquake in Haiti and the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. He spent time with Syrian refugees in Toledo, Ohio, and captured the stories of schoolchildren in Kabul. He took us to the edges of India and into the homes of Americans. He felt especially close to U.S. servicemen and women, taking every opportunity to highlight the sacrifices they made in the face of grave danger. But he also found humor in the dark moments, recognizing that even in the worst times, there could still be tenderness.

David brought us the world and made us all care.

"It's not just reporting. It's not just taking pictures," he said about the work he did in Haiti. "It's, 'Do those visuals, do the stories, do they change somebody's mind enough to take action?'

"So if we're doing our part, it gets people to do their part. Hopefully."

What follows is but a small selection of David's remarkable work.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai held a rally in a remote village, where he struck a deal with an influential religious leader. Thousands gathered for the campaign event. From the story "Afghan President Karzai Rallies Support," 2009. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Afghan president Hamid Karzai held a rally in a remote village, where he struck a deal with an influential religious leader. Thousands gathered for the campaign event. From the story "Afghan President Karzai Rallies Support," 2009.

David Gilkey/NPR

Local election officials escort donkeys carrying election materials on the way to the village of Quali Kuana in Badakhshan province in Afghanistan. From the story "Donkeys Deliver The Vote To Rural Afghanistan," 2009. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Bravo Company's Pvt. Cody Lee Ensley walks through the safety of the gates at an American base after a daylong fierce attack by insurgents near Payendi. From the story "Signs Of Traction In U.S. Fight Against Afghan Taliban," 2010. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Bravo Company's Pvt. Cody Lee Ensley walks through the safety of the gates at an American base after a daylong fierce attack by insurgents near Payendi. From the story "Signs Of Traction In U.S. Fight Against Afghan Taliban," 2010.

David Gilkey/NPR
David Gilkey and Laura Krantz YouTube

From the story "Images Of Haiti Days After The Earthquake, And Now," 2011. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Liam, 2, accompanies his dad, Jake Romo, during rehab at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Romo, 22, lost both his legs while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, in Sangin, Afghanistan. From the story "For Wounded Marines, The Long, Hard Road Of Rehab," 2011. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Liam, 2, accompanies his dad, Jake Romo, during rehab at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Romo, 22, lost both his legs while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, in Sangin, Afghanistan. From the story "For Wounded Marines, The Long, Hard Road Of Rehab," 2011.

David Gilkey/NPR

Gilkey, NPR reporter David Greene and producer Laura Krantz boarded the Trans-Siberian Railway in Moscow and took two weeks to make their way to the Pacific Ocean port city of Vladivostok. From the story "Russia By Rail: A View From Russia's Trans-Siberian Railroad," 2012. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Velvet Eyes — a pet reindeer belonging to Carl Emmons — stands in the back of a pickup truck outside a market and gas station in Nome, Alaska. From the story "Dashing Through The Snow ... With A Reindeer In A Pickup Truck," 2013. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Velvet Eyes — a pet reindeer belonging to Carl Emmons — stands in the back of a pickup truck outside a market and gas station in Nome, Alaska. From the story "Dashing Through The Snow ... With A Reindeer In A Pickup Truck," 2013.

David Gilkey/NPR

U.S. military veterans Marcus Bennett (from top, left to right), Henry Addington, Melinda Baca and Fred E. Parks Jr. and his wife, Jessica. (Bottom) David Gilkey photographs Marcus Bennett at a pop-up studio. From the story "What Do Homeless Vets Look Like," 2014. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR
buzkashi

Notes

From the story "Buzkashi," 2014

Baby Sesay, a traditional healer in Sierra Leone, treated a child who later died, apparently of Ebola, and then became sick herself and went to a care center. From the story "An NPR Photographer Looks Ebola In The Eye," 2014. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Baby Sesay, a traditional healer in Sierra Leone, treated a child who later died, apparently of Ebola, and then became sick herself and went to a care center. From the story "An NPR Photographer Looks Ebola In The Eye," 2014.

David Gilkey/NPR

When David Gilkey was headed off to Cuba to shoot some of our stories, his editor told him there was one cliché he should absolutely avoid: cars. From the story "We Said 'No Car Pictures'," 2014. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

These girls are the lucky ones — they've been able to stay in school while many of their peers have dropped out. From the story "Meet The Cool Girls At A High School In Kabul: #15Girls," 2015. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

These girls are the lucky ones — they've been able to stay in school while many of their peers have dropped out. From the story "Meet The Cool Girls At A High School In Kabul: #15Girls," 2015.

David Gilkey/NPR

Omar Al-Awad holds his daughter as they walk home in Toledo, Ohio, where they were recently resettled after fleeing Syria and living in a Jordanian refugee camp. From the story "Among The Lucky Few: Syrian Family Rebuilds In America's Heartland," 2015. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

People stand in line for food at the U.N. Protection of Civilians site near Bentiu, South Sudan. Over 120,000 people live at the site, the biggest in the country. From the story "Five Days And Five Nights With Doctors Without Borders," 2016. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Men watch the fires of a cremation along the banks of the Yamuna River against the backdrop of the Wazirabad Barrage and floating industrial waste. From the story "Can India's Sacred But 'Dead' Yamuna River Be Saved," 2016. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Men watch the fires of a cremation along the banks of the Yamuna River against the backdrop of the Wazirabad Barrage and floating industrial waste. From the story "Can India's Sacred But 'Dead' Yamuna River Be Saved," 2016.

David Gilkey/NPR