Acclaimed Turkish photoreporter dies after lightning hits his bike


Kerim Ökten, one of Turkey’s most talented photoreporters, died April 10 after being involved in a road accident caused by lightning while riding his motorbike in the northwestern province of Çanakkale.

The award-winning photographer, who was working for EPA, was transferred to a hospital in Ezine following the accident, but succumbed to his injuries despite all medical efforts.

Ökten was traveling to Bozcaada off of the Çanakkale coast to join his wife, Aybüke Ökten.

Tributes poured in for the 42-year-old from his colleagues, who described him as one of the most talented and one of the last photoreporters of his generation.

Many of the pictures he took during last year’s Gezi protests were selected as among the year’s best photographs. Ökten had also worked between 2011 and 2013 as the EPA photo reporter responsible for Britain.

Ökten had also recently sat on the jury of the World Press Photo in the sports category.

“The reason why there is not enough respect given to photo reporters is publishing outlets. Photographs are indispensable for the pages, but acknowledging the person who took the picture [is frowned upon],” Ökten told Hürriyet in a recent interview.

“Because photographs are so important, it is absolutely impossible to understand why photoreporters receive second class treatment,” he said.


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