Tim Hetherington (1970-2011)

Tim Hetherington, tireless and lyrical raconteur of global conflicts, is dead, a victim of a Libyan mortar shell.

Many will remember Tim Hetherington as a great photographer, but to call him such would be to pigeonhole his contributions. He himself acknowledged his changing role in a new topography of media: “If you are interested in mass communication, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a photographer. We live in a post-photographic world. If you are interested in photography, then you are interested in something — in terms of mass communication — that is past. I am interested in reaching as many people as possible.”

And he did. He covered various conflicts in West Africa and contributed to two documentaries on Liberia and Darfur. In 2007, he began a yearlong assignment documenting a battalion of American troops stationed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley as bait to the Taliban. He published a touching book Infidel, won his fourth World Press Photo award for his coverage, and was nominated for an Oscar for his resulting documentary, Restrepo, which was all too human for it was palpably apolitical. His broad experiences were also recorded an ethereal webvideo, “Diary”.

To the very end, he was determined to reach out to as many people as possible; he began using twitter eight months ago, and his first and last tweet from Libya — posted just hours before he himself was hit  — read: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO”. It was fitting, if heartrending, epitaph.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/18497543]

Excepted from the Times of London:

When he was hit he was with [Chris Hondros of Getty], Guy Martin, a British freelance journalist and Michael Christopher Brown, an American photographer. They were covering the bitter fight for control of a bridge over Tripoli Street, which Colonel Gaddafi’s forces are trying to retake to give them a clear route into the heart of Misrata.

The group, escorted by a Libyan guide, were on the front line when the regime forces spotted them and fired a mortar round. Hetherington suffered massive blood loss by the time an ambulance managed to reach him and take him through the cratered streets to the Hikmeh hospital, where doctors did their best to revive him. Hondros, who was due to marry soon, also died late last night, while Martin suffered serious injuries to the abdomen. Brown was hit in the arm and was not believed to be in danger.

59 thoughts on “Tim Hetherington (1970-2011)

  1. A fitting obituary for a man who died doing something he was deeply passionate about. Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were exemplars of their field, putting themselves at the heart of danger in order to get the truth – and the images to support that truth – out into the world.

  2. […] Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) (via Iconic Photos) Posted: April 21, 2011 by aislingkeaveyphotography in Uncategorized 0 Tim Hetherington, tireless raconteur of conflicts across two continents, died today, a victim of a Libyan mortar shell. Many will remember Tim Hetherington as a great photographer, but to call him such would be to pigeonhole his contributions. He himself acknowledged the changing topography of media: “If you are interested in mass communication, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a photographer. We live in a post-photographic world. If … Read More […]

  3. […] Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were reported to have been killed in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata the […]

  4. The guy lived on the edge and obviously did nothing half measure. He had a lot of guts being where he was because that bridge is obviously a key to the city center and he was in close proximity to the combat. I guess an observer for Quadaffis side spotted them and
    may have thought they were fighters of the rebels. It was probably a mortar barrage of more than one mortar bomb and one of them hit the mark. May he and his lost
    fellow reporter rest in peace. In this crazed world of
    zealous fanatics there are gonna be more Misratas and
    more lost reporters.

  5. Thanks for sharing this and reminding non-journalists what terrible risks Tim, Chris and hundreds of others take every day in every war zone to try and tell the stories we need to hear, see and feel.

    As a career journo, who numbers Chris’ boss among my friends, I know how brutal this death is for him as well. The editors who send such talent back out again and again know all too well the risks. We’re devastated.

    And, yes, it will happen again.

  6. Thank you for posting this wonderful eye into Tim’s world. I hope he and his colleague’s deaths somehow influence UN and American policies in Libya and they will not have died in vain.

  7. […] Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) (via Iconic Photos) By eastcoastxuan Tim Hetherington, tireless raconteur of conflicts across two continents, died today, a victim of a Libyan mortar shell. Many will remember Tim Hetherington as a great photographer, but to call him such would be to pigeonhole his contributions. He himself acknowledged the changing topography of media: “If you are interested in mass communication, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a photographer. We live in a post-photographic world. If … Read More […]

  8. […] Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) (via Iconic Photos) Posted on 21 April, 2011 by PatoBlog Tim Hetherington, tireless raconteur of conflicts across two continents, died today, a victim of a Libyan mortar shell. Many will remember Tim Hetherington as a great photographer, but to call him such would be to pigeonhole his contributions. He himself acknowledged the changing topography of media: “If you are interested in mass communication, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a photographer. We live in a post-photographic world. If … Read More […]

  9. I became of fan (if you will) of Hetherington’s after seeing ‘Restrepo’ at Sundance, where it won for best doc. Hetherington had a real gift for picking out some truly moving moments and images- pulling in the casual viewer, and making them care. Hopefully more people will be inspired to sift through his work (including the marvelous ‘Diary’) and act accordingly.

  10. I didn’t know Tim. This is my first seeing of his work and this deeply affects me as I sit in my apartment in Brooklyn(ready to go out and take some shots of graffiti when I saw this post one the cover). I see this and I’m kind of think of my work as fickle nonsense :/. Photojournalists are unappreciated, even with the awards and accolades. Sometimes I wonder why someone would be willing to risk thier lives to do this line of work. I supposed I’ve yet to reach that level of passion and understanding. I hope to know and be brave enough to become engaged one day. All of those who were hurt or died this week were remarkable people, not just for putting themsevles out there; for being people wanting to move outside of their comfort zones to tell stories.

  11. […] Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) (via Iconic Photos) By eastcoastxuan Tim Hetherington, tireless raconteur of conflicts across two continents, died today, a victim of a Libyan mortar shell. Many will remember Tim Hetherington as a great photographer, but to call him such would be to pigeonhole his contributions. He himself acknowledged the changing topography of media: “If you are interested in mass communication, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a photographer. We live in a post-photographic world. If … Read More […]

  12. Thanks for sharing this and reminding non-journalists what terrible risks Tim, Chris and hundreds of others take every day in every war zone to try and tell the stories we need to hear, see and feel.

    As a career journo, who numbers Chris’ boss among my friends, I know how brutal this death is for him as well. The editors who send such talent back out again and again know all too well the risks. We’re devastated.

    And, yes, it will happen again.

  13. He clearly was a amazing man who left know stone unturned in his efforts to portray what he had personally witnessed and seen back to people all over the world he clearly should be rememberd for all this good work and his professionalism and bravery right to end. god bless him may he rest in peace .and may he never be forgotten ,condolenses to his family and his wife to be.

  14. Wow! Powerful video.
    I have to admit, I was not familiar with Tim Hetherington before his death, but this work is truly monumental. I really hope his messages will be heard now.
    Thank you for posting this fitting, and moving obituary.
    Best Wishes

  15. My Dear Friends and Comrades,

    Tim Was a REAL Combat Journalist.

    All you whippersnappers who think you know all about Combat need to see his film, “Restrepo”. That will straiten you out if nothin else will. I can tell you, The way these armchair Journalists in London say he got hit?, it was most likely ten times worse and filled with more agony then their paper could ever hold. Tim was no Spring Chicken and knew the dangers of Combat well. So, let that be a lesson to all who decide on the path to high adventure: If someone like Tim Hetherington could buy the farm, then anyone can, at any time. Know the true risks before you buy that Canon 7D and a set O Marspec from Sportsmans guide!

    On a Battlefield the enemy just shoots and asks questions later. Thats a Fact and nobody is immune and no sign that says “Journalist, dont shoot” can save you from an Artillery officer who’s Four Miles away sippin Tea while he’s a readin the Mecca Times.

    You know, Tim had quite a good run…Better than Most and never lied to try to build himself up. The Stark reality of War was his canvas and his paint was the Blood, Sweat and Tears of its Victims. Hellofa Artist…Hellofa Man.

    May he rest in Peace in the everlasting Glory of God Almighty. We will all Miss his special Elixir of Honesty, Simplicity, Horse Sense and Courage.

    Your Obt. Svt.
    Col. Korn,
    Chief O Mayhem In the Great WW-2 and the Cold War,
    Now Chief O Sanitation, Security an the Complaint Dept.
    OXOjamm Studios,
    http://WWW.OXOjamm.Com.
    (P.S. See his film, “Restrepo”, Hear me?!)

  16. Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) (via Iconic Photos) Posted on 21 April, 2011 by PatoBlog Tim Hetherington, tireless raconteur of conflicts across two continents, died today, a victim of a Libyan mortar shell. Many will remember Tim Hetherington as a great photographer, but to call him such would be to pigeonhole his contributions. He himself acknowledged the changing topography of media: “If you are interested in mass communication, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a photographer. We live in a post-photographic world. If

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