American journalist Luke Somers, who was killed in Yemen during a failed raid to free him from his al-Qaeda kidnappers, said his work was driven by an urge to document the lives of regular people.
He travelled to the Red Sea nation two years ago with ambitions to teach, but the amateur photographer soon picked up a camera, capturing images in the streets of Sanaa as political turmoil boiled over during 2012 national elections.
The 33-year-old worked as a freelance photographer for the BBC and also spent time at local newspapers, including the Yemen Times, as an editor and translator before he was snatched off the streets of Sanaa over a year ago.
Somers said sharing stories of regular Yemenis informed his work, which often featured everyday people, whether at a political rally, in a hospital or while spending time with handicap activists.
“It means so much for people here to know that their story is being heard (and) seen,” he told the BBC.
His images show that he was not afraid to get close to the action, capturing victims of Yemen’s violent protests.
The effect of taking candid pictures stayed with him, he said, telling the BBC the “smell of death” often remained after he finished shooting.
Somers and a South African hostage were killed on Saturday during a failed attempt by US special forces to free them from Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen.
Somers, who was born in Britain but spent most of his life in the United States, told the BBC he had planned to leave Yemen in August 2013, about a month before he was kidnapped.
His bother Jordan described him as a “good person” and said he did not know why he was taken hostage.