PoynterVision: War zone photographers a breed apart

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus’ death in Afghanistan serves as another reminder of the deadly calling that war photography can be. Recently, Afghanistan has become a dangerous assignment “on par with the height of the Iraq war or the current situation in Syria,” said Bob Dietz, Asia program coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Niedringhaus and her colleague, reporter Kathy Gannon, were shot by an Afghan police officer while they sat in a car that was part of a convoy monitoring the country’s elections. Niedringhaus died; Gannon was badly wounded, but reported Friday in stable condition.

Just last month, on March 11, Swedish journalist Nils Horner was shot at point-blank range while reporting in Kabul. Ten days later, four gunmen fired weapons in a Kabul hotel restaurant and killed Afghan journalist Sardar Ahmad.

“Where once reporters and photographers were seen as the impartial eyes and ears of crucial information, today they are often targets,” said Associated Press CEO Gary Pruitt.

Poynter’s Kenneth Irby, senior faculty for visual journalism, talked with Poynter’s Ren LaForme on Friday about the challenges for photographers covering violent conflict and the courage it requires to walk into situations from which they may not return.

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