AP PHOTOS: 10 years after her killing, Anja Niedringhaus' images speak for her

On April 4, 2014, outside a heavily guarded government compound in eastern Afghanistan, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed by an Afghan police officer as she sat in her car
FILE - A girl tries to peer through the holes of her burqa as she plays with other children in the old town of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 7, 2013. Despite Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus' reputation as a war photographer, very often she found beauty and joy on assignment. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

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FILE - A girl tries to peer through the holes of her burqa as she plays with other children in the old town of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 7, 2013. Despite Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus' reputation as a war photographer, very often she found beauty and joy on assignment. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

If she had lived, there would have been so many more photos.

Anja could have gone to Kabul for the chaotic U.S. withdrawal, and to war-shattered Ukraine after the Russian invasion. She would have been at the Olympics, and at center court at Wimbledon. She would have been at all the places where compassionate photographers with trained eyes make it their business to be.

But on April 4, 2014, outside a heavily guarded government compound in eastern Afghanistan, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed by an Afghan police officer as she sat in her car. She was 48 years old. Her colleague Kathy Gannon, who was sitting beside her, was badly wounded in the attack.

Anja had a convulsive laugh, a thick German accent and an irrepressible decency that elicited trust from the people on the other side of her lens. She trusted them back, making photographs that captured their struggle for humanity, even in some of the world’s most difficult places.

The three of us became friends in Sarajevo in the early 1990s, when ethnic fighting was savaging the former Yugoslavia and a generation of young photojournalists came into their own. Anja was at the European Pressphoto Agency. We were at the AP.

But while Anja was fiercely competitive, she was also fiercely loyal. Soon we were sharing armored cars, unheated hotel rooms, games of Yahtzee and too many Marlboros.

At a time when women journalists were rare in war zones, Anja was best known as a conflict photographer. Her work helped define the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Some of the most memorable images from those dark pages in history — ones you might well recognize — came from her camera and her vision.

But Anja never made much out of being a woman surrounded by men. And to see only her conflict work would be a mistake.

She was one of the great sports photographers, whether capturing Serena Williams jumping for joy after a Wimbledon victory or the immense smile of British runner Mohamed Farah as he takes Olympic gold in the 5,000-meter. She photographed everything from European elections to global summits. She mentored young photographers everywhere she went. She expertly told small stories of everyday life in dozens of countries.

And despite her reputation as a war photographer, very often she found beauty and joy on assignment — even in those difficult places where she spent so much time. And especially in the place where she ultimately lost her life.

Just look at her photos. She found joy in the moment when an Afghan nomad tenderly kissed his infant daughter, and happiness among Afghan girls finally able to go to school. She found beauty as a swimmer waded into Lake Geneva at sunrise.

She did it all. Now she is 10 years gone. And these images — the ones that were so important to her and so important to understanding a jumbled world — are what is left to speak for her.

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Jacqueline Larma is deputy director of photography for special projects for The Associated Press. Enric Marti is deputy director of photography for enterprise. Both are veteran AP photographers.

FILE - A picture of Afghan President Hamid Karzai hangs on a wall in the main room of the district municipality in eastern Kabul on Saturday, March 29, 2014, ahead of the April 5, 2014 to choose a new president. Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was best known as a conflict photographer. Her work helped define the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

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FILE - An honor guard stands next to men who arrived to mourn the death of late Vice President Field Marshal Mohammed Qasim Fahim outside his house in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 10, 2014. The influential vice president, a leading commander in the alliance that fought the Taliban who was later accused with other warlords of targeting civilian areas during the country's civil war, died March 9, 2014. He was 57. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

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FILE - A topless Ukrainian protester is arrested by Swiss police after climbing up a fence at the entrance to the center where the World Economic Forum is held in Davos, Switzerland Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012. The activists are from the group Femen, which had become popular in Ukraine for staging small, half-naked protests against a range of issues including oppression of political opposition. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

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FILE - Serena Williams of the United States reacts after winning against Zheng Jie of China during a third round women's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, Saturday, June 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

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FILE - A nomad kisses his young daughter while watching his herd in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

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FILE - Britain's Mohamed Farah celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 5000-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

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An umpire watches the ball as a match unfolds on Court 18, as seen through wooden slats, at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, June 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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Boys play soccer during a break at their school in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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Pakistani children get ready for class at Malala Yousufzai's old school in Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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A woman takes a dip in Lake Geneva at sunrise in Geneva, Switzerland on Sunday, July 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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Afghan Army soldiers gather at a training facility on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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Injured U.S. Marine Cpl. Burness Britt reacts after being lifted onto a medevac helicopter from the U.S. Army's Task Force Lift "Dust Off," Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment on Saturday, June 4, 2011. Britt was wounded in an IED strike near Sangin, in the Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan. During his first operation in Afghanistan he suffered a stroke and became partially paralyzed. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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A woman reacts while sitting in a taxi as different television networks call the presidential race for Barack Obama, in New York on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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A young Afghan girl plays with a broken shovel outside her makeshift house at a refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, May 10, 2013. Thousands of Afghans displaced by the war in their own country live in slum-like conditions in refugee camps on the edge of the capital. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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Seen through the eye grid of a burqa, women walk through a market in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, April 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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A fruit seller lifts his son by his cheeks in the center of Kandahar, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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Children peek out of a bus as they leave school in Wajah Khiel, Swat Valley, Pakistan on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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A child is administered a polio vaccination by a district health team worker outside a children's hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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Day laborer Zekrullah, 23, takes a break from preparing brick kilns at a factory on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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Journalists, including Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, reflected in the window at lower center, surround the car of Bouthaina Shaaban, advisor to Syrian President Assad, as she leaves after meeting with the Syrian opposition at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. On April 4, 2014, outside a heavily guarded government compound in eastern Afghanistan, Niedringhaus was killed by an Afghan police officer as she sat in her car. She was 48 years old. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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