Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin and award-winning photographer Remi Ochlik, who received 1st prize in the General News Stories category in this year's World Press Photo for his work in Libya, have been confirmed to have died in Syria earlier today.
The BBC reports that the two reporters died after a shell hit a makeshift media centre in the Baba Amr area. Up to nine other people were also killed in the attack, and three other reporters are said to be injured - including photographers Paul Conroy and William Daniels, and writer Edith Bouvier. In an email to Sunday Times' staffers, Rupert Murdoch writes: "Our photographer, Paul Conroy, was with [Marie Colvin] and is believed to have been injured. We are doing all we can in the face of shelling and sniper fire to get him to safety and to recover Marie's body."
Ochlik's death has also been confirmed by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.
Ochlik's World Press Photo winning work can be seen on the organisation's website here. Speaking to BJP on 10 February, Ochlick said that he didn't expect to win anything this year. "I thought with all the photographers there - including Yuri Kozyrev, Jereome Sessini, Alex Majoli - I had no chance to win. I'm astonished. And happy, of course."
Nina Berman, one of the World Press Photo's judges, praised Ochlik's work for his editing, telling BJP that the 12 images submitted told a complete story.
"The idea was not to focus on just one part of the story," Ochlik told BJP less than two weeks ago. "Because when you look at what happened, this war was divided in several parts - in Benghazi, in Misrata - and in what I've covered, I've tried to tell a story. I was also lucky to be assigned very quickly to cover Gaddafi's death. I was able to finish the story thanks to Paris Match. It allowed me to have a beginning, a middle and an end to my story."
He added:"I had a friend help me with my editing, because it's often the case that photographers are not the best persons to edit their own work - maybe because they know their images too well. I have a very good friend who helps me all the time. Together, we're able to find the interesting frames in a story, because I don't always see them. I shoot these pictures, I send them to newspapers and magazines, but in the end I don't always know what's good, what's great and what's not so good."
Ochlik was born in 1983. "After graduating from high school, he went to Paris to study photography at Icart Photo school. He also started working for Wostok, a photography agency," he wrote on his website.
In 2004, he photographed the fall of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, winning the Francois Chalais Award for Young Reporters for his work there. His images were also shown at Visa Pour l'Image. A year later, he launched his own agency - IP3 Press - specialising in conflict photography. He covered the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008, and the cholera epidemic in Haiti two years later. Last year, he covered the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and when he spoke with BJP, he was preparing his next reportage in Syria, hoping that his World Press Photo win would get his work in front of international picture editors.
His work has been published in Le Monde, VSD, Paris Match, Time and The Wall Street Journal, among others.
Speaking to Michel Puech of La Lettre de la Photographie, Guillaume Clavières, senior photo editor at Paris Match, said, late last year that Ochlik was one of the most talented young photographers of his generation. "Motivated, enthusiastic, curious and brilliant. He is capable of going from one difficult news topic to another less dramatic subject with the same photographic quality."
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