American photojournalist Luke Somers, who was killed in Yemen during a failed raid to free him from his al-Qaeda kidnappers, was driven by an urge to document the lives of ordinary people. He travelled to the Red Sea nation with ambitions to teach, but the amateur photographer soon picked up a camera, capturing images in the streets of Sanaa as political turmoil boiled over during 2012 national elections. The 33-year-old worked as a freelance photographer for the BBC and also spent time at local newspapers, including the Yemen Times , as an editor and translator before he was snatched off the streets of Sanaa 15 months ago. Besides doing freelance work for the BBC, Somers also contributed pictures to Al Jazeera online between 2011 and 2013. "The world has lost the voice of a brave human being and open-minded journalist who could explain the complexities of the situation in Yemen deftly," said Imad Musa, head of Al Jazeera English Online. Somers said sharing stories of ordinary Yemenis informed his work, which often featured everyday people, whether at a political rally, in a hospital or while spending time with handicap activists. "It means so much for people here to know that their story is being heard (and) seen," he told the BBC. Somers' images show that he was not afraid to get close to the action, capturing victims of Yemen's violent protests. The effect of taking candid pictures stayed with him, he said, telling the BBC the "smell of death" often remained after he finished shooting. Somers, who was born in Britain but spent most of his life in the United States, told the BBC he had planned to leave Yemen in August last year , about a month before he was kidnapped. Fellow freelance journalist Tik Root, who met Somers in Yemen, called him a "private guy", saying: "Luke never wavered from the frontlines. His work provides a gripping window into a country rarely on the world's radar. It also reveals his deep and persistent love for the country."