Photographer Anja Niedringhaus (AP) © Copyright
Iaaf News Monaco

Tragic death of photographer Anja Niedringhaus

The IAAF is saddened to hear that acclaimed photographer Anja Niedringhaus was shot and killed by an Afghan policeman on 4 April.

Born on 12 October 1965, Niedringhaus had covered conflict zones for decades, but had also covered major sports events and was a well-known face at the IAAF World Championships.

The Pulitzer prize-winning photographer started her career as a freelance photographer for a local newspaper in her hometown in Hoexter, Germany, at the age of 16.

While in university, Niedringhaus continued to freelance as a photographer for various newspapers and magazines. Among the events she covered was the fall of the Berlin Wall which led to a staff position as photographer for the European Press Photo Agency, EPA, in Frankfurt in 1990.

She worked at EPA as chief photographer until 2001, focusing much of her time covering the brutal conflict in the former Yugoslavia. She was based for several years in Sarajevo and in Moscow.

In 2002 she joined the Associated Press, AP, as a staff photographer based in Geneva, Switzerland, which remained her base. In the ensuing years Niedringhaus covered most of the world’s conflict regions in Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In 2005 Niedringhaus was the only woman in a team of AP photographers who won the Pulitzer Prize in the breaking news category for their coverage of the war in Iraq. The same year she received the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation, and collected many more awards throughout her career.

In addition to photographing conflicts and political crises around the world, Niedringhaus also covered the world’s premier sporting events, including nine Olympic Games.

A keen lover of athletics, Niedringhaus attended every World Championships since Athens 1997. At that event she was the first ever photographer to request a telephone line at the head-on platform facing the finish line and was therefore the first and only photographer to send a digital photo of the 100m final immediately after the end of the race.

Her professionalism was coupled with a warm, joyous personality, and her humanity made her pictures unique – often recognisable without even having to read the credits.

The IAAF and the athletics family pay tribute today to an exceptional photographer and human being.