Wednesday, 20 April 2011

One Bit of a Long Story: Tim Hetherington

(LURD rebel says goodbye before battle)

Tim Hetherington died today in Libya doing what he does best: covering conflict. At present, there are varying reports that Chris Hondros also died. I hope the reports saying he was in very critical care are correct, and that he pulls through.

Hetherington, along with James Bradbazon, covered the end of Liberia's civil war by walking from the Guinean border to Tubmanburg to team up with the LURD faction, who's advance on the capital largely forced Charles Taylor to fall.

The photos from this, and the several years Hetherington spent after this documenting Liberia's return from violence are captured in the amazing book Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold.

I first read this book on Glenna Gordon's couch in Monrovia, in the summer of 2009. Then I bought three copies of it. It's ability to capture kind, sincere, soft moments amidst the carnage of Liberia's civil war and aftermath, and to document a completely hidden reality are unparalleled. It completely and totally altered how I thought about, and now see, journalism. Talking about this book with Glenna on numerous occasions that summer played an absolutely massive role in deciding to take the photography side of my work more seriously. This in turn forced me to develop not only my technical skills, but more so, to really, truly realize all the work and - again, more so - thought that has to go into every single frame you even think of publishing.

Of course, living up to these ideals remains very much a work in progress for me. But truly disappointed to see someone I admired so much pass away.

(a man canoes past a beached ship near Greenville, Liberia)


Scarlett Lion said...

I remember all of those conversations so clearly. I'm glad you do too.

Liz said...

Very sad news. Sounds like Chris Hondros has unfortunately also succumbed to his injuries:;
One of your three copies of Tim's book is currently in my bookshelf...and I recommend many others to also fill their shelves with this incredible book. Perhaps I will have to get my own copy once you have a permanent bookshelf to put it on and when the weight of your bag no longer dictates whether you can take something home with you...

prasad said...

This is says that Libya is not safe at this time foreigners who are living Libya now they have to leave that country unless they cant live safely because now Libya has no leadership the other countries have to try to discuss with the Libyan government and opposition leaders to bring them for peace talks.


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Erin said...

Lovely post, Myles.