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NPR Photojournalist David Gilkey Is Remembered By Colleagues


And we're also remembering two colleagues who were killed yesterday in Afghanistan. NPR photojournalist David Gilkey and interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna were in an Afghan military convoy when their vehicle came under fire.


David Gilkey was a friend to so many of us. He won awards for his photojournalism in conflict zones like Afghanistan.

MONTAGNE: Yes, and David would do sweet, spot-on imitations of the young Marines that he often embedded with there as they huddled between battles. I mean, we'd kid him that he should join the Marines. He so looked the part with his trademark cap covering his shaved head, a scowl on his face.

But that scowl was an absolute illusion, easily and often broken by his great giggle. And, you know, David Gilkey found a dark humor in everything. So long hours traveling through Afghanistan meant laughing constantly.

GREENE: Constantly, I mean, that giggle is going to stay with me forever. I've been thinking of so many of the moments with him. He always would try and convince me to eat junk food on the road. He once photographed what remained of a burrito he had eaten and the Alka-Seltzer that he used to treat himself.

And he put the backdrop as these railroad tracks and said there was just no medical treatment anywhere nearby. And we went to Cuba together. And he had his youthful enthusiasm about those old cars. He and I were in Havana. We were on the line with NPR's Scott Simon.


GREENE: David, we should say, we were warned before coming down here that these old 1950s American cars were a little bit cliche in Havana.

DAVID GILKEY, BYLINE: A little bit. But I'm looking at a row of 1940s and '50s cars. They are just so beautiful. You look over and there's a 1956 Chevy. You can't not turn your camera towards these cars.

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: David Gilkey, it sounds like you're under a spell.

GILKEY: A little bit.

GREENE: He was under a spell. But it wasn't about the places and things. It really was about capturing lives. I met a woman named Dawn Mosley in Kansas City with David. She had been homeless, surviving on walnuts. But she came through and had a better life. We were hanging on her porch, and David snapped this photo of her.

She was smiling blissfully. This difficult life had just found peace. And his photo told the story better than anything I could've said on the radio. And he always said that it was about not the amazing places and things. It was about the people who made it all worthwhile.

MONTAGNE: Rest in peace, our David Gilkey. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.