It’s eerie how New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks seems to always be at the wrong place at the right time, or, depending on the way you look at it, the right place at the wrong time. He captures the scenes from brutal war zones like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, so witnessing killings is not unusual for him. In 2012, just one year after being held captive for six days by pro-Qaddafi forces in Libya, Hicks helped carry the body of his colleague Anthony Shadid, who died from an acute asthma attack while trying to leave Syria, across the border into Turkey. He’s always there.
Hicks’ photographs are disturbing because his subject matter is disturbing. But Hicks’ knack–even for a war photographer–for being exactly where horror happens is almost surreal. How else to explain that he just happens to be in the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi last year when the killings began? (His Nairobi work won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize.) The most stunning, disturbing image so far to come out Gaza this past week also came from Hicks. He was moments away from the Gaza beach when four boys were killed there yesterday by Israeli bombs. Hicks got the shot.