Tyler Hicks: On The Scene In Nairobi

Staples graduate and New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Tyler Hicks always manages to be in the right place at the right time — often for horrific events.

Yesterday, he was at the Nairobi mall massacre.

He told the Times that he had been in a framing shop nearby, picking up photos that were gifts from his wedding less than 2 weeks earlier. He had only a small camera, which he always carries “in case something happens.”

He ran to the mall, and started photographing. His wife Nichole Sobecki — also a photojournalist — soon joined him, bringing his professional cameras and Kevlar helmet.

Terrorists shattered a normal day at an upscale Nairobi mall. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)

Terrorists shattered a normal day at an upscale Nairobi mall. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)

Tyler — who lives in Nairobi – knew the mall well. It’s very Western, with movie theaters, cafes, supermarkets and a casino.

He found a service entrance, and joined security forces. “Everywhere you turned,” he said, “there was another body.”

He stayed inside the mall for 2 hours. The situation was tense; no one knew how many shooters there were, or if IEDs had been planted. Survivors constantly streamed past.
Terrified survivors seemed to come from everywhere, Tyler Hicks said. (Photo/Tyler HIcks for the New York Times

Terrified survivors seemed to come from everywhere, Tyler Hicks said. (Photo/Tyler HIcks for the New York Times

Tyler said:

When something of this magnitude happens, it’s just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than being in Afghanistan or any other number of countries where there are wars going on. You have to think about where you’re standing, you have to think about where you have cover, the type of obstacles you can place between you and potential gunmen. A lot of the same rules apply when they’re sweeping through a building like that.

This is just plain and simple murder of unarmed civilians. It’s not a war. These militants went into the mall and executed people: women and children, anyone who got in their path. That’s not typical of war.

(For Tyler Hicks’ complete interview — and more photos — click here.)

Though he's photographed wars around the globe, Tyler Hicks said this mayhem was different. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for New York Times)

Though he’s photographed wars around the globe, Tyler Hicks said this mayhem was different. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)

6 responses to “Tyler Hicks: On The Scene In Nairobi

  1. Denise Radatzke ( Esposito). Joe Esposiito was my grandfather – brother to
    Jenny. I would love to communicate with family

  2. Wow! What a story, talk about being in the right place at the right time and with your camera!

  3. Margaret Hart Rynshall

    This morning when I heard Bob Schieffer say on “Face The Nation” there was breaking news from the mall massacre and that Tyler Hicks had photographed it, I thought, he is in another horrific situation, but who else could capture that.

  4. Wonderful to capture but when does it end? When do ALL religious leaders strongly condemn this? This could be a mall in CT. These people have hijacked a religion. When will we see their religious leaders stand up and dand this to stop. ENOUGH!!

  5. I’d like to know whats the brand of his small camera.

  6. I’m a big Tyler Hicks fan now thanks to Dan Woog. Amazing shots as usual. The images always make me shudder and are also always thought provoking. Stay safe Mr. Hicks.