NPR Photographer David Gilkey Killed in Afghanistan

NPR Photographer David Gilkey Killed in Afghanistan

Heralded photographer/videographer David Gilkey and photographer/interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna were killed this weekend when their convoy was attacked by the Taliban with heavy artillery.

There have been many tributes to Gilkey and his incredible career, which included many war torn areas around the world. But my favorite piece has to do with an act of disobedience in 2014 on a trip to Cuba. His editors sent him to report on the rapid changes in Cuban society and gave him one directive, “no car pictures.”

Gilkey and editor Kainaz Amaria recalled the exchange in an audio interview after the trip:

Kainaz: So David, we sent you to Cuba with one very specific directive: No cars. (Well, that and cigars.) Remember?

David: Yes, I remember us doing a Google search of “Havana” and seeing nothing but vintage Fords and Chevys from the ’40s and ’50s. We laughed because it was absurd.

Kainaz: Yes, and I said, under absolutely no circumstances, no matter what, were you to photograph cars. Verboten. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even look at them! It’s like shooting gondolas in Venice. SERIOUSLY, NO CARS. So what happened when you got there?

David: Here’s the thing: Cuba’s cars are impossible to ignore. It’s like seeing a celebrity and trying not to stare.

Like all his work, Gilkey’s car photos are visually stunning, and worth a look.

RIP David Gilkey.

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Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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