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Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui captured the people behind the story

  • >> Reuters
    Published: 2021-07-17 15:37:52 BdST

Danish Siddiqui, the Reuters journalist killed in crossfire on Friday covering the war in Afghanistan, was a largely self-taught photographer who scaled the heights of his profession while documenting wars, riots and human suffering.

A native of New Delhi, Siddiqui, 38, is survived by his wife Rike and two young children.

He was part of a team that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 2018 for documenting Myanmar's Rohingya refugee crisis, a series described by the judging committee as "shocking photographs that exposed the world to the violence Rohingya refugees faced in fleeing Myanmar."

Friends and colleagues described a man who cared deeply about the stories he covered, carrying out meticulous research before embarking on assignments and always focusing on the people caught up in the news.

"Even in breaking news cycles he would think about humanizing a story, and you see that so often in his pictures, including those that won the Pulitzer and stories we have done in the last few years," said Devjyot Ghoshal, a Reuters correspondent based in New Delhi and a neighbour of Siddiqui.

"Covering the Delhi riots together and the COVID-19 pandemic more recently – his most compelling images were about people, isolating the human element."

A Reuters photographer since 2010, Siddiqui's work has spanned wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Rohingya crisis, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and unrest in India.

In recent months, his searing photographs capturing the coronavirus pandemic in India have spread across the world.

"Ninety percent of the photography I have learnt has come from experimentation in the field," Siddiqui once wrote.

"What I enjoy most is capturing the human face of a breaking story. I shoot for the common man who wants to see and feel a story from a place where he can't be present himself."

Ahmad Danish Siddiqui was born on May 19, 1983. He became a journalist after a Master's degree in Mass Communications from Delhi's Jamia Milia Islamia University.

Siddiqui joined Reuters after stints as a correspondent with the Hindustan Times newspaper and the TV Today channel.

Last year, while covering sectarian unrest in a Delhi suburb, Siddiqui and Ghoshal saw a Muslim man being beaten by a frenzied Hindu mob.

The images were widely featured in international media, highlighting the danger of wider conflagration between India's Hindu majority and sizeable Muslim minority. Siddiqui, a Muslim, had a narrow escape when the mob turned their attention on him.

Those photographs were part of a selection of Reuters pictures of the year in 2020.

Siddiqui provided video and text from his assignments as well as photographs.

On his final assignment, he was embedded with Afghan special forces in the city of Kandahar.

Earlier this week he was travelling with a convoy of commandos when it came under heavy fire from Taliban militants on the outskirts of Kandahar. He captured the drama in pictures, film and words.

An exhausted Rohingya refugee woman touches the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal, in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh Sept 11, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

An exhausted Rohingya refugee woman touches the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal, in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh Sept 11, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Humvees that belong to Afghan Special Forces are seen destroyed during heavy clashes with Taliban during the rescue mission of a police officer besieged at a check post, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Jul 13, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Humvees that belong to Afghan Special Forces are seen destroyed during heavy clashes with Taliban during the rescue mission of a police officer besieged at a check post, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Jul 13, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A soldier eats ice cream as she visits a zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept 12, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A soldier eats ice cream as she visits a zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept 12, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Wrestlers practice as others rest in the mud at a traditional Indian wrestling centre called Akhaara in Mumbai March 4, 2014. Kushti (mud wrestling) is a traditional sport in India but more and more young athletes are now training to wrestle on mats instead of mud to gain access to top international competitions like the Olympic Games or the Commonwealth Games. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Wrestlers practice as others rest in the mud at a traditional Indian wrestling centre called Akhaara in Mumbai March 4, 2014. Kushti (mud wrestling) is a traditional sport in India but more and more young athletes are now training to wrestle on mats instead of mud to gain access to top international competitions like the Olympic Games or the Commonwealth Games. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A mass cremation of victims who died due to the coronavirus, is seen at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, India, Apr 22, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A mass cremation of victims who died due to the coronavirus, is seen at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, India, Apr 22, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man works inside a cotton factory in Mumbai Jun 4, 2010. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man works inside a cotton factory in Mumbai Jun 4, 2010. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A member of the Iraqi Federal Police throws a hand grenade during clashes with the Islamic State fighters in western Mosul, Iraq, Apr 29, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A member of the Iraqi Federal Police throws a hand grenade during clashes with the Islamic State fighters in western Mosul, Iraq, Apr 29, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

People cremate the bodies of victims of the coronavirus, at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

People cremate the bodies of victims of the coronavirus, at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man accused of stealing money from Rohingya refugees is tied to a tree at a makeshift refugee camp near Balukhali in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept 13, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man accused of stealing money from Rohingya refugees is tied to a tree at a makeshift refugee camp near Balukhali in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept 13, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A wrestler rubs his hands with mud to prevent slipping due to sweat, during a traditional mud wrestling (Kushti) bout at the Akhaara centre in Kolhapur, about 400 kms south of Mumbai, Feb 14, 2012. Fewer people are taking up Kushti, according to the sport's coaches, as young athletes turn instead to mat wrestling to gain access to top international sports competitions.  REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A wrestler rubs his hands with mud to prevent slipping due to sweat, during a traditional mud wrestling (Kushti) bout at the Akhaara centre in Kolhapur, about 400 kms south of Mumbai, Feb 14, 2012. Fewer people are taking up Kushti, according to the sport's coaches, as young athletes turn instead to mat wrestling to gain access to top international sports competitions.  REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Hindu priests sit inside a cave as they perform evening prayers on the banks of the river Ganges in Devprayag, India, Mar 28, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Hindu priests sit inside a cave as they perform evening prayers on the banks of the river Ganges in Devprayag, India, Mar 28, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Manoj Kumar sits next to his mother, Vidhya Devi, who was suffering from a breathing problem as she receives oxygen support for free inside her car at a Gurudwara (Sikh temple), amidst the spread of the coronavirus, in Ghaziabad, India, Apr 24, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Manoj Kumar sits next to his mother, Vidhya Devi, who was suffering from a breathing problem as she receives oxygen support for free inside her car at a Gurudwara (Sikh temple), amidst the spread of the coronavirus, in Ghaziabad, India, Apr 24, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

An unidentified man brandishes a gun during a protest against a new citizenship law outside the Jamia Millia Islamia university in New Delhi, India, Jan 30, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

An unidentified man brandishes a gun during a protest against a new citizenship law outside the Jamia Millia Islamia university in New Delhi, India, Jan 30, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A Naga Sadhu or Hindu holy man waits for devotees inside his camp during

A Naga Sadhu or Hindu holy man waits for devotees inside his camp during "Kumbh Mela" or the Pitcher Festival, in Prayagraj, previously known as Allahabad, India Jan 17, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A cinema-goer watches the Bollywood movie

A cinema-goer watches the Bollywood movie "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" (The Big Hearted Will Take the Bride), starring actor Shah Rukh Khan, inside Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai Dec 11, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Child models wait backstage before a show at India Kids Fashion Week in Mumbai, India, Jun 3, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Child models wait backstage before a show at India Kids Fashion Week in Mumbai, India, Jun 3, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A health worker reacts before the burial of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer who died from the coronavirus, at a graveyard in New Delhi, India, Apr 29, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A health worker reacts before the burial of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer who died from the coronavirus, at a graveyard in New Delhi, India, Apr 29, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

High-rise buildings are seen in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept 11, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

High-rise buildings are seen in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept 11, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Displaced Iraqis flee during a fight between Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces and Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq, May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Displaced Iraqis flee during a fight between Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces and Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq, May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man feeds seagulls on a beach along the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, India, Feb 9, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiquis

A man feeds seagulls on a beach along the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, India, Feb 9, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiquis

A patient wearing a protective mask looks on after he was admitted to the emergency ward of Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, during the coronavirus outbreak, in Bhagalpur, Bihar, India, Jul 27, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A patient wearing a protective mask looks on after he was admitted to the emergency ward of Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, during the coronavirus outbreak, in Bhagalpur, Bihar, India, Jul 27, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui