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What We Leared This Week: Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui Killed in Afghanistan

By David Schonauer   Friday July 23, 2021


Danish Siddiqui captured the people behind the story.

So noted Reuters, after Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer with the news service, was killed on June 16 while covering fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban near Pakistan.

Siddiqui, 38, had embedded recently with members of Afghanistan’s elite special forces in the southern province of Kandahar, a former Taliban stronghold. He was killed when the Afghan force came under Taliban fire while fighting to retake retake a district surrounding a border crossing with Pakistan, an official told Reuters.

An Indian national, Siddiqui had been a Reuters journalist since 2010 and covered events across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In recent years, he had earned a reputation among his peers in India for capturing some of the most powerful pictures of a turbulent time in the country and the region surrounding it, noted The New York Times. In 2018, Siddiqui was part of a Reuters team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for coverage of the Rohingya refugee crisis.

“Danish was an outstanding journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-loved colleague. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time,” said Michael Friedenberg, the president of Reuters, and Alessandra Galloni, the news agency’s editor in chief, in a joint statement.

Siddiqui is the first foreign reporter to be killed in the Afghan conflict since U.S. and international forces began withdrawing from the country in May and the Taliban began a sweeping military offensive, killing hundreds of government troops and displacing tens of thousands of civilians, noted The Times. In just over two months, the insurgents have seized around 170 of the country’s roughly 400 districts — only a handful of which have been retaken by government forces.

Here are some of the other photo stories we spotlighted this week:
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1. Four Stories From the Russian Arctic

Russian photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva was born in the port town of Tiksi, in Siberia. A graduate of the photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography and a contributing photographer to National Geographic, she completed her “Chukotka” series over four trips to the far eastern Chukotka region of Russia between 2018 and 2019. Frequently in Arbugaeva’s work, “the scenes have a subdued underwater look, as if recovered from the deep past or icebound legend,” noted The New Yorker.


2. Elliott Erwitt's Never-Seen Photos Are 'Not Lost'


Over the past two years, Magnum’s Elliott Erwitt immersed himself in his 70-year career-spanning archive to select and publish never-seen-before images for his new book Found, Not Lost, and the results are, as The Washington Post noted recently, more than satisfying for fans of the legendary photographer. Erwitt pored over 600,000 photographs with the help of his editor, Stuart Smith, and longtime studio manager Mio Nakamura. The process allowed him to revisit his early work and see something in the photographs he hadn’t seen before.


3. Scenes from California's Sugar Fire

The severe heat affecting large parts of the nation this summer has stoked fears of a catastrophic fire season. The Atlantic featured images of  California’s Sugar Fire taken by Associated Press photographer Noah Berger. The Sugar Fire is part of the larger Beckwourth Complex Fire that began on July 2 and expanded dramatically. The Beckwourth Complex became the state’s largest fire incident of 2021 after it erupted, burning more than 130 square miles in Plumas County.


4. How Women Worldwide Shaped Photography

Through October 3, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is presenting "The New Woman Behind the Camera,” an exhibition documenting how women photographers were essential in showing the public the "new woman" who appeared in culture during the 20th century—a powerful expression of modernity that embodied an ideal of female empowerment based on real women making revolutionary changes in life and art. Among the photographers included in the show: Berenice Abbott, Lola Álvarez Bravo and Tina Modotti. Above: “Ilse Bing Self-Portrait with Leica, 1931.”


5. Sean Kernan's Ode to a Place Where Time Moves in All Directions

In late 2019, with trips cancelled and projects shutting down, photographer and filmmaker Sean Kernan went to his great grandfather's old house in upstate New York — "a barn of a place still in the family, intact but empty," he notes. It was, he says, "the perfect place to contemplate, and to make some kind of film. Not a story film, more of a poem, an impressionistic expression of what it felt like to slip around in time." He went on to create an accompanying series of still images. We featured both on Monday.
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At top: from Evgenia Arbugaeva

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