The winner of the first Anja Niedringhaus award, US photographer Heidi Levine, has paid tribute to Anja, an acclaimed German photojournalist who died in Afghanistan last year.

Freelance photographer Heidi Levine was speaking after winning the inaugural Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award, set up by the International Women’s Media Foundation in memory of Anja and to honour women photographers who risk their lives to document conflict.

Anja Niedringhaus was a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer who was killed when an Afghan policeman opened fire on a car she was travelling in last April. She was 48.

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Heidi Levine in Jerusalem [Photo credit: Warrick Page]

Levine (pictured above) said: ‘I am honoured to be recognised with this award dedicated to celebrating the legacy of Anja.

‘Anja was both a photojournalist and a person I admired, respected and often consulted with in the field under extreme circumstances.

‘There was an incredible professional bond and sense of trust, a sisterhood so many of us felt, and she is greatly missed by us all.’

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Anja Niedringhaus © Anja Niedringhaus

Levine, who is based in Jerusalem, has covered key moments in Middle East conflicts, including revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Syria.

Commenting on Levine’s work, competition judges said: ‘Her courage and commitment to the story in Gaza is unwavering.

‘She documents tragic events under dire circumstances while displaying a depth of compassion for people she encounters.’

Levine will receive her award at a ceremony to be held in Berlin, Germany, in June.

In December 2012, Amateur Photographer reviewed Anja Niedringhaus’s book, At War.