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A. K. Kimoto: We lost a bright light this week.

I wanted to share some sad news with the
Lightstalker community. We lost AK Kimoto
this week, a very bright light. He passed
away suddenly on his way to attend a photo
festival in Australia.

I was the beneficiary of his sober humility.
This man was centered, knew who he was and
was without any residue of ego that I could

AK had immense talent but his humble nature
prevented him from trumpeting his insights.
He spent considerable time in Badakhshan,
Afghanistan photographing parents administering
opium smoke into their children’s noses to
dull the pangs of hunger.

The work was compassionate, intimate and
a great secret to the photo world. It was
the rare kind of work that you immediately feel
the rush when you know that someone had really
embraced and viscerally understood the subject.

AK became a close and trusted friend. I
will miss him immensely. I do already.

by [a former member] at 2010-03-23 03:06:27 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

did not know him. a great secret indeed. extremely empathetic work. my sincerist condolences.


by Kenneth Dickerman | 23 Mar 2010 03:03 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks Kenneth,

He was just starting to have his talents noticed.
Thanks for sharing AK’s the link as well.

by [former member] | 23 Mar 2010 03:03 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
its a shocking news for me….i still remember, he is the first guy who greets me when i came to Angkor workshop…may you rest in peace brother..

by Rahman Roslan | 23 Mar 2010 05:03 | Delhi, India | | Report spam→
I’ll miss you my friend…..

by [former member] | 23 Mar 2010 05:03 | Seattle, United States | | Report spam→
May his soul rest in peace. A great friend to us.

by Sofian Hamid | 23 Mar 2010 05:03 | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | | Report spam→
I’m collecting photos of AK to make a book for his family. If you have any pix of him, email to me at stuart@isett.com

Thanks. He was a great guy.

by [former member] | 23 Mar 2010 05:03 | Seattle, United States | | Report spam→
Just looked at his work which is so beautiful and simply stunning. Thank you for letting people know of his work and of his passing.

by Kat Palasi | 23 Mar 2010 05:03 | manila,, Philippines | | Report spam→
I will check my hard drive. Thank you Stuart.

by Sofian Hamid | 23 Mar 2010 05:03 | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | | Report spam→
Heartfelt condolences.

by Dipti Desai | 23 Mar 2010 06:03 | Kochi, India | | Report spam→
Adding my name to the growing list of people who are surprised and saddened by the news of AK’s passing. Like Rahman and Sofian, I met AK at the Angkor Festival. James, you introduced us, and I’m glad you did. I’ve followed his work ever since. His photo story of the Afghan family addicted to opium remains an inspiration to me. And who can forget his Pashtun hat…

To survive in a remote province of Afghanistan, and then to die suddenly while on your way to Australian photo festival seems improbable and unfair. How old was he?

by Todd Krainin | 23 Mar 2010 07:03 (ed. Mar 23 2010) | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
Hi Todd,

I remember the moment. AK was only 32 or 33 years old. I
only know that he was born in 1977. That is too short a

by [former member] | 23 Mar 2010 08:03 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
I heard about this earlier today. Really sad news. Like you said James, he was a super nice, unassuming guy with a lot of talent.

by [former member] | 23 Mar 2010 09:03 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia | | Report spam→
I feel so sad when I read this… his work was so powerful, his vision so deep and he seemed to be a very humble man, too. His Afghan story is one of my favorite series of Afghanistan… he was too young to die…

by [former member] | 23 Mar 2010 10:03 | | Report spam→
Sad shocking news. I met him in Cambodia three years ago.
Can’t forget his hat, had fellow Japanese photographers teasing him as a fake Japanese.

by Rony Zakaria | 23 Mar 2010 11:03 | Jakarta, Indonesia | | Report spam→
AK’s humble nature James mentioned brings me back to the email conversation I had with AK when I greeted him on the UNICEF Honorary Mention he got several months ago on that opium work..

“….Thanks! I’m happy that my story is being seen more now. I hope that this increased exposure can find a way for me to give something back to the people I photographed, because that’s always important to me. Anyway, thanks for taking a look at the work, and hope you are well. Have a good and successful 2010 na khap!”


by Satirat | 23 Mar 2010 12:03 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→

You are right.

AK never liked to boast about himself despite his
having talent and a thoughtful way of viewing the

by [former member] | 23 Mar 2010 12:03 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.. i remember him from Siem Reap, just
confirmed by the mention of his hat. he seemed like a lovely guy. much, much too short
time. that’s very sad.

by julia s. ferdinand | 23 Mar 2010 12:03 | chiang mai, Thailand | | Report spam→
Angkor Photo Festival is terribly sad. A.K. was a really special person and we loved him.
We are planning to pay tribute to him during the next festival.

by Francoise Callier | 23 Mar 2010 13:03 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
This is very sad news. And on the heels of our dear friend Torgeir Norling who passed away in January. Condolences to his family and ‘Cartoon’ his girlfriend here in Bangkok….we await the wake. Rest in peace AK

by Olivier Pin-Fat | 23 Mar 2010 15:03 | | Report spam→

by julia s. ferdinand | 23 Mar 2010 17:03 | chiang mai, Thailand | | Report spam→
To everyone sending me pix of our friend AK, thanks. please be sure they are hi res though, at least 10 megs when opened. THanks.

by [former member] | 23 Mar 2010 20:03 | Seattle, United States | | Report spam→
I am deeply shocked at the sudden death of A.K.
My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

by selvaprakash | 24 Mar 2010 17:03 | Bangalore, India | | Report spam→
If you are in Bangkok, please join us at a ceremony for AK tomorrow.

The death of our beloved AK has impacted us all deeply.
His family is with him in Perth, where a ceremony and cremation will take place tomorrow, Friday 26th March.
Please join Cartoon in Bangkok for a service held at Wat Ratchasingkhon on Charoen Krung soi 74.
The ceremony will start at 9 AM and will last until 12 noon.

Feel more than free to ask any questions:

Yumi Goto, g.youme@gmail.com, +66 81 206 9973 or
David Høgsholt, mail@davidhogsholt.com, +66 89 044 3580

Map: http://bit.ly/ak-ceremony


Yumi Goto

by [former member] | 25 Mar 2010 11:03 | Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam | | Report spam→
My condolences to A.K.’s family.

Those of us who knew him as a friend already feel his absence.

His personality and his vision touched many of us.

We share in your grief.


by John W. Santerre | 25 Mar 2010 21:03 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→

by [former member] | 25 Mar 2010 22:03 | Seattle, United States | | Report spam→
Regrettably I met AK only once, it was while working in Banda Aceh after the Tsunami. I remember having a wonderful discussion about photography and walking away with a lasting impression of the person I just met. His work from Afghanistan was truly brilliant. My thoughts are with his friends and family.

by Lloyd Cederstrand | 26 Mar 2010 00:03 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
It was around this time. last year, that I met AK at the Mustafa. over the months that followed I saw the passion he had for photography, and documenting those that need and deserve help.

We’ve lost a great eye, and a great soul.

by Tom Popyk | 26 Mar 2010 13:03 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
I didn’t have the chance to meet him… But I want to tell sincere condolences to all his family and friends.

by Valentin Bianchi | 26 Mar 2010 15:03 | Liège, Belgium | | Report spam→
A K, we never met. Maybe that’s why I felt you never left.
Your last words to James spoke for many of us. Storytellers who are afraid the stories we tell are never heard.
You will live on in our hearts, as a reminder to keep telling our stories, when everything else seems to be against us.
Cya later, A K.

by Edwin Koo | 27 Mar 2010 14:03 | Katmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
I know the how isn’t supposed to matter during a time like this, but does anyone know how he died? I of course never met him either, but I’m getting to know him through all these tributes. Just wondering how he passed …

by [former member] | 27 Mar 2010 15:03 | | Report spam→
Though he was a young man with only two hands indeed, he was an old soul with a 1,000,000 hand’d heart and all those hands are working ceaseless now because it wasn’t his tilt to remain with us, two-handed sloppy ones, but instead was his time to break wider, enliven more and to help get that child in the cave light that most of us have crawed blindly to….

he mattered because that child matters and, though the grief is stinging, my heart was immediately rubbed into shape by one of his hands and god damn, how that lifting is the lifting for each of us now….

A.k. rose up, we all need to do the same now….can u feel his hands already…

such is the way of the world….

i am not in despair, how could one ever be once having met such a bright and 1,000,000-handed smiling one, but i do miss that laugh…..

rise up y’all…

see u later ak….been looking for that hat here in Chinatown for a week…and so i laid down and wept….there u are, again, here in chinatown, in that small store….sitting in the corner between the dried, bruised bamboo poles and the damp straw and porcelain cups from china….remember, still there, an afghan hat amid all the inexpensive ware from china…still there,


by [former member] | 27 Mar 2010 16:03 (ed. Mar 27 2010) | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Guess I’m the last to hear. I met AK in an AIDS hospice while shooting in Phnom Penh in 2005. He was quiet but not aloof, with a strong yet humble sense of self. As a photographer, his patience and dedication were amazing. He’d spend all day in the hospice, making friends, moving with the light, capturing the beautiful soul inherent even in tragic lives/images.

His Afghan mission was three years in the making, and he had held most of his images back. Perhaps his family will release them at the proper time and place. AK was just in the early stages of becoming the great photographer he and we always knew he would be. I am proud to have known you AK, that you put up with me, that you allowed me to see you grow from Indonesia to Cambodia to Afghanistan. I don’t know why you had to go, only that you did.

Godspeed my friend. Move with the light.
PS. Forgive me, but if anybody knows how he died, I’d like to know.

by Bennett Stevens | 15 Apr 2010 07:04 (ed. Apr 15 2010) | San Francisco, United States | | Report spam→
Rest in peace…

by [former member] | 15 Apr 2010 12:04 | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→
Man, sad news..i bumped into AK a few years ago in bangkok…made a lasting impression of a really honest humble guy.
What happened to him..?

would really like to see his long term project published…

by Ethan Knight | 15 Apr 2010 22:04 | christchurch, New Zealand | | Report spam→
I’m a journalist, not a photog. But i second Ethan’s motion.

I was in kabul when AK was working on his project. I still have his text message on my afghan mobile, a day into his trip up to Badakhshan: “river flooded… go to wait!” This, after weeks of planning and waiting and frustration.

When he got back he regaled the Mustafa about wading through the raging, freezing torrent, twisting an ankle in the process. Too bad his snaps made the water looking cuff deep. Hardly raging. Lots of needling and taking the piss out of Drama Queen AK.

Then he showed the shots.

Black and white. Beautiful use of natural light.

All of you here are better photographers, better eyes, than my untrained journalist’s ones.

But I saw real quality, heartfelt sensitivity to the subject. There are more than he showed on his site. Most just as good. A few better.

I know AK agonized over which ones to pick, how and where to show them.

Maybe James or Stuart or Toon or his sister have a better idea of what he decided on.

But if I can get them here to Toronto’s Contact, I’d like to. Bob, as a good torontonian, I;m sure you;d help.

Maybe there’s something for Perpignon.

Maybe there’s something more.

Maybe we can tell this story.

I’m back to Afghanistan soon. But I know there’s more I can do.

James, Stuart, anyone else who knows AK’s family. email or text me.

AK wanted this story told.

If we can, if those closest to him approve …. let’s.

I’m in.

by Tom Popyk | 15 Apr 2010 23:04 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Condolences to his family and friends.


by John Brown | 19 Apr 2010 06:04 | | Report spam→
My Deep Condolence……

by donal husni | 19 Apr 2010 10:04 | BSD, Indonesia | | Report spam→
My most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
I have had the pleasure of collaborating with AK on a couple photo assignments that he did for WFP in Cambodia where he took photographs of Aids victims that received help from WFP and in Indonesia post Tsunami. His images portrayed people with true dignity and humanity.
An enormous loss,may he rest in peace.

Rein Skullerud

by Rein Skullerud | 19 Apr 2010 12:04 | Rome, Italy | | Report spam→
Tom: yes, let me know if there is any way that I can help….CONTACT would be a great start…too late for this year, but surely something can be done for next year….

let me know


by [former member] | 19 Apr 2010 16:04 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the kind words on AK. His work
was so strong and you had to pull it out of
him to get him to share it with you. He was
a humble guy but such a pleasure to be with.

We have completed several tributes to him.
Cartoon is planning a show where she has
interpreted several of his photographs as
paintings. His photos will also be shown
with the paintings. Yumi Goto curated the


We are in touch with Visa Pour L’Image for a

So, from here on, it may be best to let his family
recover from the shock and step back a bit.
The Kimoto’s need a bit of space at this point.

by [former member] | 20 Apr 2010 13:04 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
All the best.

by Ricardo Garcia | 27 Apr 2010 18:04 | Barcelona, Spain | | Report spam→

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Kenneth Dickerman, Photographer Kenneth Dickerman
Nyc , United States
Rahman Roslan, Photojournalist Rahman Roslan
Siem Reap , Cambodia
Sofian Hamid, Photojournalist Sofian Hamid
Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia
Kat Palasi, photographer Kat Palasi
Northern Luzon , Philippines
Dipti Desai, Photographer Dipti Desai
Colombo , Sri Lanka
Todd Krainin, Video Producer Todd Krainin
Video Producer
Washington, Dc , United States ( DCA )
Rony Zakaria, Photographer Rony Zakaria
Jakarta , Indonesia ( CGK )
Satirat, Satirat
Bangkok , Thailand
julia s. ferdinand, photographer julia s. ferdinand
Chiang Mai , Thailand ( CNX )
Francoise Callier, Program Coordinator Francoise Callier
Program Coordinator
(Francoise Callier)
Paris , France ( CDG )
Olivier Pin-Fat, Olivier Pin-Fat
[undisclosed location].
selvaprakash, Photographer selvaprakash
Bangalore , India
John W. Santerre, Photographer John W. Santerre
New York City , United States
Lloyd Cederstrand, Aid Worker/Photographer Lloyd Cederstrand
Aid Worker/Photographer
[undisclosed location].
Tom Popyk, Journalist/Videographer Tom Popyk
New Delhi , India
Valentin Bianchi, Photographer Valentin Bianchi
Liège , Belgium
Edwin Koo, Photojournalist Edwin Koo
(Edwin Koo)
Seremban , Malaysia ( KUL )
Bennett Stevens, Writer/Photographer Bennett Stevens
(Have Cam Will Travel)
Bagan , Myanmar
Ethan Knight, Documentary Photographer Ethan Knight
Documentary Photographer
Bangkok , Thailand
John Brown, Photojournalist John Brown
[undisclosed location].
donal husni, Photographer donal husni
Serpong , Indonesia
Rein Skullerud, Head, Photography Unit Rein Skullerud
Head, Photography Unit
Rome , Italy
Ricardo Garcia, Photojournalist Ricardo Garcia
(Ricardo Garcia)
Barcelona , Spain


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