Thinking about my old friend A.K. Kimoto who died 11 years ago this March from unexpected, natural causes at the age of 32. A young and talented photographer, with a heart of gold, AK impacted every life he touched and is dearly missed. After his death The New York Times published his work on opium addiction in Afghanistan, a lasting tribute to his talents and compassion. I first met A.K. in Cambodia and was immediately taken by his kindness and humanism. This quote below is from an email he sent to James Whitlow Delano a few weeks before his death and encapsulates so much of his life:
“I don’t care about being recognized, and I don’t care if I go through life with no fame to show for my efforts. What bothers me is if people don’t take my latest work seriously. Not for my sake, but for the sake of the people who allowed me to photograph their lives."
"When was the last time you saw a 4 year old sucking down heroin? Is it not a tragedy? If I can’t do anything to bring attention to their plight, and if nobody cares, then what am I doing with my time and in fact, my life? It was never about awards or anything like that. I thought it was about being out in the world, witnessing things that others don’t see, and sharing these stories with a larger audience. I always said that I do what I do because I only have 2 hands.”