Inside NPR

Photojournalist ProFile: 'You Have To Be In The Middle Of It.'

NPR photographer David Gilkey in Afghanistan's Kunar River Valley as he navigated closed roads on his way back to Kabul (2010).

hide captionNPR photographer David Gilkey in Afghanistan's Kunar River Valley as he navigated closed roads on his way back to Kabul (2010).

Courtesy of CNN's Ivan Watson

My name... David Gilkey
NPR employee since... 2007
Public radio listener since... I was a kid and my dad drove me to school.
My job at NPR is... staff photographer. Reporting in general, 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. [cont.]

Growing up, I wanted to be... a truck driver. My father had a dark room, and as a reward for being good, he'd let me play in the dark room and take pictures. That or drive to a truck stop. I still do this on my lunch breaks. [When I was based in DC], I'd sit and watch the construction going on next to our building.

I listen best when... I'm driving.

I could survive on... beef jerky for 3-4 days.

I always travel with... Starbucks' instant coffee, a satellite phone, laptop, cameras, cash, change of clothes, flip flops, sleeping bag, head lamp and Cipro.

My number one travel rule is... never check anything you can't do the job without.

The hardest thing about getting a shot, is... putting yourself in the position to get it. Can you get there? This can take weeks, months.

The best thing about the photography community is... they're going to help you, that camaraderie is there.

I'm not as... serious ...as I sound.

On Sunday morning, you'll find me... on a long run.

I can't live without... a hat.

Instagram is... one of the greatest things to come out in the last five years.

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