Yesterday (Monday), a photo exhibition in Ankara turned into a murder scene. Andrei Karlov, Russian Ambassador to Turkey, was murdered. AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici visited the exhibition opening and documented the entire incident. At a certain point at the ambassador’s speech, Ozbilici moved closer to take photos. Then came the gunshots. Russia’s ambassador was killed. But even in all the chaos and panic – Ozbilici didn’t lose head. He kept doing his job and took photos of the gunman, which almost instantly went viral.
AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici continued his work in the face of this. pic.twitter.com/mGdH37ZMei
— Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) December 19, 2016
According to reports, it was a Turkish policeman who killed the Russian ambassador. And as the witnesses say, his motive seemed to be Russian bombing of Syria. When he pulled the gun out and started shooting, there were at least eight gunshots. People became frightened and began to panic, and in a matter of seconds the photo exhibition turned into utter mayhem.
Despite his own fear and panic around him, Ozbilici somehow managed to stay calm. Although many photographers have died taking photos in conflict zones, he decided to take the risk. The gunman was pulling the trigger, but he wasn’t the only one who was shooting. In an article to AP Ozbilici explains what he was thinking at the moment:
I’m here. Even if I get hit and injured, or killed, I’m a journalist. I have to do my work. I could run away without making any photos. … But I wouldn’t have a proper answer if people later ask me: ‘Why didn’t you take pictures?’
The security guards ordered people to leave the gallery, and nobody else got hurt. Shortly after, ambulance and armored vehicles arrived, and the gunman was later killed in a shootout.
The whole world is shocked by the news. I can’t imagine how traumatic it was for those who were there at the time. But thanks to a brave and extremely professional photographer, we are left with some of the most powerful and shocking documentary photos of this year.
Do you think Ozbilici is professional and brave, or you think what he did was insane?