British photographers’ group Editorial Photographers UK is raising money for the families of a Georgian photographer and reporter who were both killed in the Georgian conflict.
Photographer Sasha Klimchuk, 30, and his reporter friend Giga Chikhladze, 27, promised if one of them died the other would support their family, but both were killed in South Ossetia on 9 August this year.
Mark Pinder, freelance photographer and a member of the EPUK, was aware of the pact and highlighted the plight of the families. He became friends with Klimchuk in 2005 when he was working in the region and kept in touch.
Chikhladze was freelancing for Russian Newsweek and Klimchuk, was head of the independent photo agency Caucasus Images based in Tbilisi, Georgia, but was freelancing for the Russian news agency Itar Tass, at the time of his death.
According to EPUK’s David Hoffman,tThey were driving with two other journalists in South Ossettia when they parked the car and got out to walk. “They were confronted by armed men,” said Hoffman. “At that point, something happened, nobody knows what. They started to run away and they were killed by the men they came across.”
EPUK started in 1999 by a number of freelance photographers who came together and agreed to share information and now has over 900 members, collected £500 in the first 12 hours since launching the appeal.
Nick McGowan-Lowe, EPUK website editor, said: ‘Our membership tends to be based in the UK, but we’ve seen donations come in from all around the world so far.’
He added: ‘EPUK was founded on the principle of photographers helping others. There is camaraderie between photographers, even people they’ve never met and people in other countries. They want to help them because they know themselves, they’ve been in similar situations.”