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The Story Behind the Photo

2016-12-21

This is What’s Trending Today.

You may not know the name Burhan Ozbilici. But by now, you have probably seen his photos.

Ozbilici is a photographer for the Associated Press news service. And on Monday, he took pictures of the man who had just shot Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov.

A man gestures after shooting Andrei Karlov
A man gestures after shooting Andrei Karlov

Karlov was attending a photo exhibition in Ankara. He later died of his wounds.

The shooter has been identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old police officer.

In one of Ozbilici’s photos, the shooter is pointing a finger in the air. In his other hand, he is holding the gun by his hip. He is shouting, as Karlov’s body lies on the floor near him.

Photographers and media experts are calling it “the photo of the year.”

People have praised Ozbilici for remaining calm enough to keep taking photos after witnessing an assassination.

Ozbilici told the Associated Press many people dropped to the floor when the man showed his gun. Other people ran.

But he did not.

“I’m a journalist,” he said. “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?’”

Dennis Paquin is the Associated Press’ acting director of photography. He said the image shows how often photographers face real risks. Dangerous situations can come up even in quiet places like an art gallery.

Ozbilici said he only decided to attend the event at the art gallery at the last minute.

“The event seemed routine,” he wrote in an Associated Press story.

After the gunshots -- “at least eight of them,” Ozbilici recalled -- he found a safe space behind a wall. There, he continued taking photos.

Many people have written about Ozbilici’s photos and his work.

A New York Times reporter called him courageous.

One magazine editor called him “extraordinarily brave.”

On Tuesday night, Ozbilici wrote on Twitter: “Andrei Karlov, good man, rest in peace. … Thanks God … I’m alive.”

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

What did you think of Ozbilici’s photos? Let us know in the comments section.

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Words in This Story

assassination– n. the act of killing someone, usually for political reasons

cool - adj. able to think and act in a calm way

proper – adj. correct according to social or moral rules

courageous – adj. very brave : having or showing courage

routineadj. done or happening as a normal part of a job, situation, or process