World

The breathtaking war photographs of Heidi Levine

By Mick Krever, CNN

Published 2:25 PM ET, Thu June 25, 2015
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Heidi Levine, an American freelance photographer, was awarded the inaugural Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award on Thursday. The honor is named for a German photojournalist who was killed last year covering the Afghan presidential election.
Levine covered last year's Gaza war extensively, taking some breathtaking photographs.

Here, a woman reacts during the funeral for four boys killed while playing on the beach in Gaza.

"I don't know if it was the mother, because it was just so chaotic," Levine says. "It just looked like her whole life went blank ... almost like a ghost, in a sense."
Courtesy Heidi Levine/Sipa Press
Levine spoke with CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, who presented her with the award in Berlin.

Here, Hidya Atash looks out over Gaza from her destroyed home.

"I must say, after the Gaza war I felt really broken. I felt like my soul was quite shattered," Levine told Amanpour.

"It's a conflict that I've been weaving in and out of for over three decades, so people on both sides are no [strangers]."
Courtesy Heidi Levine/Sipa Press
In this photo, "Palestinians collect religious books in the rubble of the Al-Qassam mosque," says the International Women's Media Foundation, which gave Levine the award. Courtesy Heidi Levine/Sipa Press
Rawya "was seriously injured during last summer's war when an Israeli air strike hit her family's apartment in Gaza City," Levine says.

"I first photographed her at Shifa hospital; her face was wounded by shrapnel and her legs had perforated holes and were in a cast."

"Her right hand was also seriously injured; all the bones and nerves crushed. Her aunt told me that at that time she still did not know that her four-year old sister and two aunts were killed."
Courtesy Heidi Levine/Sipa Press
"I want people to be able to connect to my pictures," Levine told Amanpour.
"There are a lot of pictures that I photograph that will never be published because they're too graphic. But I still do photograph those pictures because I believe that it's important evidence, documents."
"But what I really want is people to be able to look."

"I once got a phone call from a person in Hawai'i who saw the cover of -- an Iraqi girl, a refugee girl, that I photographed in Jordan, and it appeared on the cover on Amnesty International."

"And this woman made the effort to find my phone number, she called me, and said 'This child really reminds me of my grand-daughter, and I want to help. So you tell me how I can send money to her.'"
Courtesy Heidi Levine/Sipa Press
Palestinians run with a white flag in Gaza.

"As the one year anniversary of the war approaches, I think both sides are basically holding their breath to see whether or not the ceasefire can stay in place."
Courtesy Heidi Levine/Sipa Press
The photographer, Heidi Levine, in Jerusalem. Courtesy Warrick Page/IWMF